Civil Rights Terms By Lotanna and Liam

The Dred Scott Decision

  • Decision issued by the Supreme Court in 1857
  • Dred Scott was a slave who argued that his time spent in free states entitled him to emancipation
  • Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that no black, free or slave, could claim US citizenship and were unable to petition the court for their freedom

Emancipation Proclamation

  • Order given by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863
  • Declared that all slaves were free in the Confederate States
  • The Union had no power over them, and the proclamation was not effective

13th Amendment

  • Ratified in 1865 by 27 out of the 36 states
  • Banned any form of slavery and annulled any old laws that supported slavery

14th Amendment

  • Ratified in 1968
  • Stated that anyone born in the US could be an American citizen

15th Amendment

  • Ratified in 1870
  • Made it illegal to deny a man the right to vote based on race.

Plessy vs. Ferguson

  • Supreme Court case in 1896
  • African-American train passenger Homer Plessy refused to sit in a Jim Crow car, breaking the law
  • Plessy argued that segregation is wrong
  • Court ruled that segregation is okay as long as facilities/services are “separate but equal”

Brown vs. Board of Education

  • Decision issued by the Supreme Court in 1954
  • Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional
  • Made it possible for black and white students to attend school together

Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • In many places in the US, there were separate seats on the bus for black and white people
  • In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man and was arrested
  • For over a year, African-Americans boycotted the city buses
  • The Supreme Court eventually declared segregation bus rules unconstitutional

Little Rock Nine

  • In 1957, nine black students tried to attend a formerly all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Governor tried to prevent this by sending the National Guard, but Eisenhower overruled his decision


  • Form of protest in which people occupy a place, refusing to leave until their demands are met
  • In 1960, four black college students sat down at a lunch counter designated for white people only
  • The restaurant would not serve them, but the students refused to get up to protest segregation

Ruby Bridges

  • In 1960, while in first grade, she was chosen to attend a formerly all-white school in New Orleans
  • Many white parents pulled out their children, but Ruby continued to attend
  • She went on to graduate high school and college

Freedom Riders

  • Group of people who believed that was wrong, specifically on buses
  • They rode buses to segregated areas of the South to protest and challenge the laws

James Meredith

  • First African-American to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962
  • He applied and got accepted to the school
  • When school officials learned his race, they rejected his application
  • Supreme Court ruled that he could attend, but when he arrived at college, the entrance was blocked
  • A year later, he graduated with a degree in political science

"I Have a Dream" Speech

  • Delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington in August 1963
  • He called for an end to racism in the US and for equality in jobs
  • Encouraged the president to pass laws against discrimination

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