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Race discrimination and the civil rights movement


In 1865 slavery was abolished and the "negroes" became free workers. However, racial discrimination spread in the American society, because white Americans didn't accept them as equal. A system of racial segregation started. Black people had to go to different schools, bars and cinemas from white people. They had different entrances to public places and different waiting room at stations or at bus terminals. They had different park benches, train or restaurant seating and even public toilets. They had difficulty in finding a job and had yo live in black neighborhoods.

In the 1950s the African-Americans challenged segregation and the black Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. became the leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929. He became a Batpist minister and a civil rights activist early in his career. In 1955 he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, following Rosa Park's act of civil disobedience: she was arrested because she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. On August 28, 1963 he led the March on Washington, where he delivered his famous speech "I Have a Dream". In 1964 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. He also campaigned to end poverty and to stop the war against Vietnam. On April 4, 1968, as he was leaving his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, he was shot and killed. Since then, the lives of American black people have improved and there is no official segregation anymore. However, in most American cities there are still "black areas", which are neighborhoods with a high concentration of black people.

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