The Evolution of Civil Rights


Dred Scott v. Sanford


The case was decided in 1857 that African Americans, whether they were free or slaves, weren’t American citizens and could not sue in federal court. The Supreme Court also ruled that Congress didn’t have enough power to ban slavery in the states.

13th Amendment


Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

14th Amendment


All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state can make or enforce any law that would deprive people from their rights to life, liberty, and property.

15th Amendment


The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude

Poll Taxes were put on African Americans


Citizens in some states had to pay a fee to vote in a national election.

White Primaries Started


Primary elections held in the Southern United States in which only white voters were permitted to participate.

Plessy v. Ferguson


Case decided in 1896 that established the “separate but equal” law. This separated blacks and whites and both races had their own places and things that belonged to them such as schools, water fountains, restrooms, etc.

19th Amendment was passed


Gave women the right to vote.

Korematsu v. United States


Case decided in 1944 where the Court decided the wartime internment of Japanese American citizens was constitutional.

Hernandez v. Texas


Case decided in 1954 that protected the rights of those not of the black or white race. This case was very important because it was the first and only Mexican-American civil-rights case heard and decided by the United States Supreme Court during the post-World War II period.

Brown vs. Board of Education

May 17, 1954

Case decided in 1954 where the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.

Affirmative Action


The policy of favoring members of a disadvantaged group who suffer or have suffered from discrimination within a culture

Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed


Civil rights and labor law that outlawed discrimination on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin

Voting Rights Act of 1964


Landmark piece of federal legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in voting.

Reed v. Reed


Case decided in 1971 where the Supreme Court ruled that the administrators of estates cannot be named in a way that discriminates between sexes.

Equal Rights Amendment was passed


Designed to guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex.

Regents v. Bakke


Case decided in 1978 that upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy.

Americans with Disabilities Act


This was the nation's first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

Adarand Constructors v. Pena


Case decided in 1995 which held that racial classifications, imposed by the federal government, must be analyzed under a standard of strict scrutiny (the most stringent standard of judicial review).