The End of Segregation
  Mr. Burns' U.S. History Class
Return to
Originating Page

Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and marches
against segregation spread widely

By the early 1960s many Americans were calling for an end to all
forms of segregation. 
Sit-ins were used to challenge department stores
that refused to let blacks sit and eat at their lunch counters.

During a sit-in, blacks would sit at the lunch counter, and not leave.  That
forced the issue into the public eye, since the protesters were usually arrested.

Sometimes a white person would join the sit-in as a show of support.
The sit-in below in 1960 was at a department store in Nashville, Tennessee.

Freedom Riders challenged segregation
in bus terminal waiting rooms

In 1961 groups called Freedom Riders organized busloads of blacks and whites
willing to travel to cities in the South to protest against segregated bus stations. 
An earlier court case had already declared that interstate buses and stations could
not be segregated. In many areas of the South, however, the law was ignored,
and bus stations still had separate waiting rooms for whites and blacks.

The bus of Freedom Riders shown below was going through Alabama.  It was attacked by
a mob of whites and set on fire.  Everyone on board managed to escape the flames safely. 

Newspaper reports about the Freedom Riders impressed people nationwide with their
courage and determination to keep challenging segregation.

Protest marches and demonstrations showed
wide public support for ending segregation

Sit-ins and Freedom Riders won national attention in newspapers and
television reports.  The demonstration below was organized in
New York City to show support for an end to segregation.

1963: The March on Washington

The most famous demonstration of the Civil Rights movement
was the 1963 March on Washington (below). 
More than a
quarter of a million people of all races attended the protest
march and demonstration in the nation's capital. 

Rev. Martin Luther King made his famous I Have a Dream
speech from the steps of the Lincoln memorial.

"I Have a Dream"

Rev. King, speaking at the March on Washington, declared,
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live
out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended
segregation and all Jim Crow laws

The March on Washington helped build support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This important law passed by Congress banned discrimination in all public places.
Jim Crow laws that created segregation were now officially outlawed.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

    All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation . . . without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

As the law was being written, the section that bans racial discrimination
in employment (jobs) was worded to make it clear that employment
discrimination against women was also banned.

   It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer . . . to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual . . . because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The photos are from the Library of Congress.
Some have been edited or resized for this page.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2010, 2012 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  As a guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning, some pages necessarily include phrases or sentences from that document, which is available online from the Virginia Department of Education.  The author's copyright extends to the original text and graphics, unique design and layout, and related material.