Civil Rights Movement.
- Simon Wendt
“Civil rights movement” is an umbrella term that refers to the various efforts of African American activists to gain full citizenship rights and to end racial discrimination in American society. Sustained civil rights organizing began in the early twentieth century, matured in the 1940s and 1950s, and culminated in the mass nonviolent protests of the 1960s. After securing civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s, the movement became more radical, increasingly rejecting nonviolent protest and advocating more fundamental change. Though the movement lost momentum in the late 1960s, militant Black Power activism and political organizing continued until the mid-1970s.
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.