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APUSH Oral History: Civil/Human Rights

African-American Civil Rights

The civil rights movement was the struggle by African-Americans for social and economic rights that took place during the 1950s and 1960s. It can trace its roots to the Emmett Till murder that took place in 1954. The 14 year old’s brutal murder reinspired African-Americans to take widespread action and resist the Jim Crow and segregation laws in place across the nation. Some of the most notable events that took place was the sit-in movement in 1960, the Freedom Riders in 1961, James Meredith’s integration of the University of Mississippi, the Civil Rights Act, MLK’s assassination, and eventually the rise of the Black Panthers and other black national groups.

Other Civil Rights Movements

While the African-American movement for civil rights took place in the 1960s, a number of other minority groups fought for their own rights at the same time. Movements such as the Chicano movement of Latin Americans, the LGBTQ movement of the 1960s, as well as the movement for women’s rights. Simultaneously, as the Vietnam War ramped up, anti-war protests took place across the nation. These movements had great impact on the nation and its people, as the interviews on this page demonstrate.

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