What are the causes of the civil right movements?
Following the Civil War, attempts were made to protect the civil rights of the newly freed slaves. The first Civil Rights Acts were passed in 1866, 1870, 1871, and 1875. Those acts tried to protect the ex-slaves rights and freedoms, like the right to sue, to be heard in jury trials, and the right to hold property. As reconstruction ended and the Blacks lost political power in the South, there was no more federal civil rights legislation until The Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960. The spark that started the modern Civil Rights movement occurred in December of 1955. Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, as Montgomery, Alabama law required. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. became the spokesman for the protest that developed and led the Black boycott of the Montgomery Bus system. The result was felt nation wide. Sit ins at all White lunch counters, marches, and demonstrations forced the government to act. In 1957, the first Blacks tried to enroll in Central High School, in Little Rock. Whites and the governor blocked their way. President Eisenhower had to use troops to protect the Black students and allow them entrance to the High School. The most comprehensive civil rights legislation was passed by Congress and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination for reason of color, race, religion, or national origin in places of public accommodation, and anything covered by interstate commerce. That included restaurants, hotels, motels, and theaters. The act also forbad discrimination in employment and discrimination on the bases of sex. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to protect the right to vote. Federal observers would be placed at the polls to make sure all citizens had the right to vote. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 outlawed discrimination in housing and the selling of real estate. Supreme Court decisions in 1954 and 1955 declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional and the court's rulings in 1955 banned segregation in publicly financed parks, playgrounds, and golf courses.