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084 What movement tried to end racial discrimination?

84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?
The civil rights (movement)

The U.S. Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal” (or the same), but in reality (or in real life), this isn’t really true. The United States has always struggled (or had problems) with racial discrimination, which means treating people differently and unfairly because of the color of their skin.

Racial discrimination is still a problem today, but it is less of a problem now than it used to be. In the early 1900s, blacks and other people who were not white couldn’t do many of the things that white people could do. For example, they were not allowed to drink out of the same drinking fountains (or places where people can drink water on the street) or use the same bathrooms as white people could. They also had to go to different schools and shop in different stores. They even had to ride in the back of busses, because only white people could sit in the front.

In 1955, a black woman named Rosa Parks was very tired of all these rules and she decided to sit in the front of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, a city in the southern part of the United States. The driver ordered (or told) her to sit in the back, but she wouldn’t do it. This was an act of civil disobedience, because she was breaking the rules as a way to try to change those rules. She was arrested (or forced to go to jail) because of it.

The black community in Montgomery wanted to support (or help) Rosa Parks and fight for their rights. So they began to boycott the busses in Montgomery. This means that they refused to ride in busses because they were tired of having to sit in the back. Their boycott lasted for more than one year until the laws were changed. The bus companies lost a lot of money during the boycott. Many of the busses stopped running (or going on the streets).

Rosa Parks’ refusal or saying ‘no’ to sitting in the back of the bus became a famous story in the national news and began the civil rights movement, or the period of time when many people were working to have equal rights for whites and non-whites. Rosa Parks is sometimes called the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”


in reality – in real life; truthfully; not imaginary
* She told her employer that she knew how to use the computer program, but in reality, she had never even heard of it before.

to struggle with (something) – to have problems with something; to have difficulty doing or understanding something
* Mindy struggles with spelling long words in English.

racial discrimination – the practice of treating people differently and unfairly because of the color of their skin
* If a university has only white students, it probably has problems with racial discrimination.

drinking fountain – a place where people can drink water in public, such as on the street or in a building
* The little boy waited in line for his turn to drink out of the drinking fountain.

to order – to tell someone to do something
* The lieutenant ordered the soldier to run five miles.

act of civil disobedience – the practice of breaking a rule as a way to try to change the rules, usually because it is unfair
* Henry David Thoreau, an American writer, didn't pay taxes as an act of civil disobedience, because he didn't like the way the government spent its money.

to arrest – for the police to force someone to go to jail because he or she has done something against the law
* They were arrested for getting into a fight and causing a lot of damage.

to boycott – to stop using, doing, or buying something as a way to show that one doesn't like the way something is done
* Some Americans want to boycott things made in other countries, because they think the U.S. should buy only things that are made in America.

civil rights movement – the period of time in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States when many people were working to have equal rights for whites and non-whites
* Before the civil rights movement, African Americans had very few opportunities for good education and good jobs in the United States.