Though the Abolition Movement of the 19th Century had emancipated African Americans, lifting them from the shackles of slavery, they were still denied the basic civil rights. Discrimination based on colour and racial segregation was common in America, especially in its southern states, the traditional slave states of America before slavery was abolished by US President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
Years of struggle by African Americans to secure federal protection for their basic rights and to end the humiliating practice of segregation based on race led to the non-violent American Civil Rights Mass Movement in 1950s and 60s.
The long years of the movement saw series of non-violent protests, civil disobedience and boycotts and its culmination is seen in Martin Luther King’s ‘March on Washington’ on August 28, 1963 when he delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech demanding justice and equality for African Americans.
As a result of the American Civil Rights Movement, the US government passed a series of legislation during 1960s, i.e., Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), which effectively ended the discriminatory practises based on colour and the racial segregation of public facilities in the years ahead.