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This book developed by ©Academy Global Learning 2020
All rights reserved under ©Academy Global Learning 2020. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Illustrated and Designed By
Christian Alas
Sound By
Margarita Onofre

Civil Unrest and Change

In addition to the Vietnam War and the national disagreement that surrounded it, other parts of U.S. society were in a state of change also. When Lyndon B. Johnson took office after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, he quickly signed the Civil Rights Act. It had taken a lot of strife on the part of many Americans to bring the country to this point of legal affirmation of equal rights for all citizens of the United States.

The country had been segregated from the beginning. Even since the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the actual lives of African Americans were far from equal with that of whites. In 1954, segregation was pronounced unconstitutional by the Supreme Court decision of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

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The extent of racial prejudice became more obvious, however, as school after school refused to admit black students to attend along with their white children.

In January of 1955, Rosa Parks made another landmark statement in history when she refused to give up her seat and move to the back part of the bus where blacks were forced to sit. By 1956, the inequality of transportation in the South came to the forefront as African Americans boycotted public bus transportation. In 1960, students seated themselves at Woolworth Store’s lunch counters and refused to move until they were served. It had previously been illegal for blacks to eat at these counters. In August of 1963, 250,000 people marched in Washington, D.C. to protest the lack of equal rights for African American citizens.

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In 1964, President Johnson, often called LBJ, signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Martin Luther King Jr. was the best known civil rights activist of the period. He was assassinated in 1968.

The African American citizens were not the only members of society that began to make statements concerning their civil rights. In August of 1960, a group of American Indians staged a sit-in to protest their treatment by the U.S. government and to ask for their fair and equal treatment as U.S. citizens. Students at the University of California at Berkeley also formed a group demanding free-speech in 1964.

Important activism was occurring in the Mexican-American community as well.

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The best known of the Mexican-American activists on the national level was César Chavez. By 1952 he was urging Latinos to register and vote. He then began to travel about California and speak for worker’s rights. He was responsible for the formation of the United Farm Workers. This union fought and won higher wages for the grape and lettuce workers in California. In 1973, the first four-year Mexican-American college was named for him in Mount Angel, Oregon.

Protests throughout the country grew more intense over the military draft in 1966. Also, through these years, frustrated women spent lots of energy and frustration achieving equal rights for themselves, regardless of their race. Before the 1970s and even into the 1980s, women had few of the rights that men enjoyed. They could not have jobs that were competitive with men. Very few could achieve careers in the political field.

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Find the vocabulary words (in bold), write them below, and find the definition of each in a dictionary.

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Write 5 sentences using some of the vocabulary words.

1. ______________________________________

2. ______________________________________

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5. ______________________________________

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Write one sentence to describe the history of Civil Unrest and Change for each area below:

What?

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When?

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How?

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Where?

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Why?

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Who?

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Discuss:

1. Explain equal rights and civil rights.

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2. What is so important about registering and voting?

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3. What is a military draft?

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4. Explain segregation.

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