8 Key Laws That Advanced Civil Rights


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The “peculiar institution” of slavery was abolished nearly a hundred years after the Declaration of Independence called for freedom and equality for all in 1776. But it took another century before landmark legislation would begin to address basic civil rights for African Americans.

This slow progress was the product of decades of work amongst anti-slavery constitutionalists, activists and abolitionists. They agitated in Congress, the courts and the streets. The fruits of their labor were not enacted immediately and were often foiled by a highly adaptable architecture of discrimination. Poll taxes and literacy tests hampered African Americans from voting in the aftermath of the Civil War. Likewise, the equal access promised in the 1960s did not mark the end of de-facto segregation.


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