The African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) refers to the movements in the
United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring
voting rights in Southern states. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1954 and 1968, particularly in the South. By 1966, the emergence of the Black Power Movement, which
lasted roughly from 1966 to 1975, enlarged the aims of the Civil Rights Movement to include racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency, and freedom from oppression by white
The movement was characterized by major campaigns of civil resistance. During the period
1955–1968, acts of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience produced crisis situations between activists and government authorities. Federal, state, and local governments, businesses, and communities often had to respond immediately to crisis situations that highlighted the inequities faced by African Americans. Forms of protest and/or civil disobedience included boycotts such as
the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) in Alabama; "sit-ins" such as the influential
Greensboro sit-ins (1960) in North Carolina; marches, such as the Selma to Montgomery marches
(1965) in Alabama; and a wide range of other nonviolent activities.
Noted legislative achievements during this phase of the Civil Rights Movement were passage of
Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned discrimination based on "race, color, religion, or national origin" in employment practices and public accommodations; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that
restored and protected voting rights; the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, that
dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional European groups; and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. African Americans re-entered politics in the South, and across the country young people were inspired to action.