Summary and Main Ideas

Summary of The African American Struggle For Equality

Practice Questions

  1. What were the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?


1. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate discrimination and enforce the provisions of the bill. It also prohibited segregation in public accommodations and encouraged integration in education.


Brown v. Board of Education: the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that struck down Plessy v. Ferguson and declared segregation and “separate but equal” to be unconstitutional in public education

civil disobedience: an action taken in violation of the letter of the law to demonstrate that the law is unjust

de facto segregation: segregation that results from the private choices of individuals

de jure segregation: segregation that results from government discrimination

direct action: civil rights campaigns that directly confronted segregationist practices through public demonstrations

disenfranchisement: the revocation of someone’s right to vote

grandfather clause: the provision in some southern states that allowed illiterate whites to vote because their ancestors had been able to vote before the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified

Jim Crow laws: state and local laws that promoted racial segregation and undermined black voting rights in the south after Reconstruction

literacy tests: tests that required the prospective voter in some states to be able to read a passage of text and answer questions about it; often used as a way to disenfranchise racial or ethnic minorities

Plessy v. Ferguson: the 1896 Supreme Court ruling that allowed “separate but equal” racial segregation under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

poll tax: annual tax imposed by some states before a person was allowed to vote

Reconstruction: the period from 1865 to 1877 during which the governments of Confederate states were reorganized prior to being readmitted to the Union

understanding tests: tests requiring prospective voters in some states to be able to explain the meaning of a passage of text or to answer questions related to citizenship; often used as a way to disenfranchise black voters

white primary: a primary election in which only whites are allowed to vote

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