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African-American Rights Movements: Legislation / Court Cases
In Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans of African descent, whether free or slave, were not American citizens and could not sue in federal court. The Court also ruled that Congress lacked power to ban slavery in the U.S. territories. Finally, the Court declared that the rights of slaveowners were constitutionally protected by the Fifth Amendment because slaves were categorized as property.
In this case, the Supreme Court upheld a Louisiana law requiring railroads to separate blacks and whites into different passenger cars. The Court affirmed the idea that the races could be segregated by law as long as the public facilities available to each race were “equal, but separate.”
In 1955, the Supreme Court considered arguments by the schools requesting relief concerning the task of desegregation. In their decision, the court delegated the task of carrying out school desegregation to district courts with orders that desegregation occur "with all deliberate speed".
Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Executive Order 8802—Reaffirming Policy Of Full Participation In The Defense Program By All Persons, Regardless Of Race, Creed, Color, Or National Origin, And Directing Certain Action In Furtherance Of Said Policy," June 25, 1941. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=16134.
Harry S. Truman: "Executive Order 9981—Establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services," July 26, 1948. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=60737.
On January 15 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10590 which creates the President's Committee on Government Policy to enforce the federal government's policy of nondiscrimination in federal employment.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Executive Order 10590—Establishing the President's Committee on Government Employment Policy," January 18, 1955. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/executive-order-10590-establishing-the-presidents-committee-government-employment-policy.
Executive Order 10925, required government contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.
John F. Kennedy: "Executive Order 10925—Establishing the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity," March 6, 1961. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=58863.
Lyndon B. Johnson: "Executive Order 11246—Equal Employment Opportunity," September 24, 1965. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=59153.
Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that granted citizenship and equal civil and legal rights to African Americans and slaves who had been emancipated after the American Civil War.
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude".
The Enforcement Act of 1871 is an Act of the United States Congress which empowered the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to combat the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacy organizations.
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was a United States federal law enacted during the Reconstruction Era in response to civil rights violations to African Americans, "to protect all citizens in their civil and legal rights", giving them equal treatment in public accommodations, public transportation, and to prohibit exclusion from jury service.
The Civil Rights Act of 1960 was a United States federal law that established federal inspection of local voter registration polls and introduced penalties for anyone who obstructed someone's attempt to register to vote.
Sturkey, William. “The Hidden History of the Civil Rights Act of 1960.” Black Perspectives, African American Intellectual History Society, 8 Feb. 2018, www.aaihs.org/the-hidden-history-of-the-civil-rights-act-of-1960/.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, is considered one of the crowning legislative achievements of the civil rights movement.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Civil Rights Restoration Act was a US legislative act that specified that recipients of federal funds must comply with civil rights laws in all areas, not just in the particular program or activity that received federal funding.