The Civil Rights Era (1865–1970)
Study Questions & Essay Topics
Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.
1. How were the NAACP, the SCLC, and the SNCC different? How were they similar? Which organization had the most success in desegregating the South?
2. Why did the civil rights movement gain momentum in the 1950s and 1960s?
3. How did Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson affect the civil rights movement? Which of these presidents had the most impact and why?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. How did earlier civil rights leaders, such as Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey, influence the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s?
2. Where did the term and philosophy “black power” come from? Why did black activists turn to violence in the mid- to late 1960s?
3. Why did the civil rights movement fall apart in the late 1960s and early 1970s? Was the movement a success?
4. How did Malcolm X and the Black Panthers affect the goals of the civil rights movement?
5. How was the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s a continuation of the Reconstruction-era struggle for blacks to achieve equality?
6. Were the SCLC’s and the SNCC’s strategies of nonviolence successful?