The term civil rights movement refers to the activist efforts of Black Americans and their allies during a particular historical period (1955–1968) to claim certain basic civil rights previously withheld from Blacks and to end legalized segregation. These efforts were designed to overturn laws and customs of racial segregation, racialized disen-franchisement, and violence against Blacks. Thus the civil rights movement represents one of the most comprehensive and concerted efforts by U.S. citizens to bring about social changes that would both directly improve the lives of Blacks and expand intergroup contact and facilitate the development of improved intergroup relations.

From a broader perspective, the struggle for civil rights in the United States did not begin or end with the events of this period. A more thorough ...

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