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The American Civil Rights Movement
The American Civil Rights Movement

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Glossary

Attorney General
The head of the United States Department of Justice and the chief lawyer of the federal government.
Chapter
A North American term for a local branch of a society or organisation. The Black Panthers, for example, had chapters spread across the United States.
Civil rights movement
Civil rights are the political, social and economic rights that a person is guaranteed by the law. The ‘civil rights movement’ usually refers to the efforts of Black Americans to abolish racial discrimination and improve their civil rights during the 1950s and 1960s.
CORE
The Congress of Racial Equality, a major African American civil rights organisation, formed in 1942.
Direct action
Direct action is a form of political activism in which groups attempt to achieve their goals through methods other than negotiation. It may or may not involve violence, but early civil rights leaders like King insisted on using non-violent methods.
Disenfranchise
The franchise, or suffrage, is the right to vote. Disenfranchisement means being deprived of the right to vote.
Jim Crow
Jim Crow laws were various state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the American South between the late nineteenth century and the 1960s. The name comes from a minstrel routine – a form of entertainment in which White performers depicted Black characters in a derogatory fashion.
NAACP
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the oldest and largest civil rights organisation in the United States, formed in 1909.
National Guard
A reserve component of the United States Armed Forces. Each state in the USA has its own National Guard force that can be called upon in emergencies.
Nation of Islam
An African-American political and religious organisation founded in 1930. It opposed racial integration and grew significantly during the 1960s after Malcolm X became a major spokesman for the group.
SCLC
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A civil rights organisation formed in 1957.
SNCC
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. A civil rights organisation led by students and formed in 1960.