35 Glossary

What Are Civil Rights and How Do We Identify Them?

affirmative action the use of programs and policies designed to assist groups that have historically been subject to discrimination

black codes laws passed immediately after the Civil War that discriminated against freed slaves and other blacks and deprived them of their rights

equal protection clause a provision of the Fourteenth Amendment that requires the states to treat all residents equally under the law

intermediate scrutiny the standard used by the courts to decide cases of discrimination based on gender and sex; burden of proof is on the government to demonstrate an important governmental interest is at stake in treating men differently from women

rational basis test the standard used by the courts to decide most forms of discrimination; the burden of proof is on those challenging the law or action to demonstrate there is no good reason for treating them differently from other citizens

strict scrutiny the standard used by the courts to decide cases of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion; burden of proof is on the government to demonstrate a compelling governmental interest is at stake and no alternative means are available to accomplish its goals

The African American Struggle for Equality

Brown v. Board of Education the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that struck down Plessy v. Ferguson and declared segregation and “separate but equal” to be unconstitutional in public education

civil disobedience an action taken in violation of the letter of the law to demonstrate that the law is unjust

de facto segregation segregation that results from the private choices of individuals

de jure segregation segregation that results from government discrimination

direct action civil rights campaigns that directly confronted segregationist practices through public demonstrations

disenfranchisement the revocation of someone’s right to vote

grandfather clause the provision in some southern states that allowed illiterate whites to vote because their ancestors had been able to vote before the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified

Jim Crow laws state and local laws that promoted racial segregation and undermined black voting rights in the south after Reconstruction

literacy tests tests that required the prospective voter in some states to be able to read a passage of text and answer questions about it; often used as a way to disenfranchise racial or ethnic minorities

Plessy v. Ferguson the 1896 Supreme Court ruling that allowed “separate but equal” racial segregation under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

poll tax annual tax imposed by some states before a person was allowed to vote

Reconstruction the period from 1865 to 1877 during which the governments of Confederate states were reorganized prior to being readmitted to the Union

understanding tests tests requiring prospective voters in some states to be able to explain the meaning of a passage of text or to answer questions related to citizenship; often used as a way to disenfranchise black voters

white primary a primary election in which only whites are allowed to vote

The Fight for Women’s Rights

comparable worth a doctrine calling for the same pay for workers whose jobs require the same level of education, responsibility, training, or working conditions

coverture a legal status of married women in which their separate legal identities were erased

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) the proposed amendment to the Constitution that would have prohibited all discrimination based on sex

glass ceiling an invisible barrier caused by discrimination that prevents women from rising to the highest levels of an organization—including corporations, governments, academic institutions, and religious organizations

Title IX the section of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972 that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex

Civil Rights for Indigenous Groups: Native Americans, Alaskans, and Hawaiians

American Indian Movement (AIM) the Native American civil rights group responsible for the occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973

Trail of Tears the name given to the forced migration of the Cherokees from Georgia to Oklahoma in 1838–1839

Equal Protection for Other Groups

Chicano a term adopted by some Mexican American civil rights activists to describe themselves and those like them

hate crime harassment, bullying, or other criminal acts directed against someone because of bias against that person’s sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, or disability

Stonewall Inn a bar in Greenwich Village, New York, where the modern Gay Pride movement began after rioters protested the police treatment of the LGBT community there


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Federal Government Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book