- from Civil Rights
Slavery in the United States officially ended in 1865 with the end of the Civil War. But that was not the end of the mistreatment of African Americans.
By the turn of the century, a system had been developed to keep African Americans “in their place.” This place was inferior socially, economically, and politically to that of whites. The system was called segregation—the separation of the two races.
In the South, laws kept African Americans in segregated schools, restaurants, and restrooms, at segregated drinking fountains, and in the backs of buses. In the North, there were unwritten rules about where African Americans could live, work, and play. Two tools kept segregation in place. One was the constant threat of violence against African Americans. The other was the southern states’ systematic denial of African Americans’ right to vote.
From the beginning of segregation, African Americans fought hard for their rights as citizens of this country. But until the 1950s, they didn’t make much progress. Then, a series of nonviolent protests began to undo some of the wrongs done to African Americans, starting with the enslavement and involuntary movement of their ancestors. These protests came to be known as the civil rights movement.