chapter
Assessment
Pages 3

Like other mass movements, the US civil rights movement produced amixed record. By almost any measure, blacks in America are better offnow than at any time since slavery ended. The most obvious successes were to end systematic racial terror and the most degrading features of Jim Crow in the South. Blacks are legally entitled to live, eat, shop, and sit on buses where they wish. The old tricks that disfranchised black voters have disappeared, resulting in black legislators, mayors, and sheriffs. Local officials increased black home ownership, provided better services, including indoor plumbing and paved streets, and hired and promoted blacks in police and fire departments. Thanks to government jobs and corporate investment, black income is the highest in history, and a majority of blacks have now reached the middle class [Doc. 19, p. 156]. American culture, especially sports, music, and television, is thoroughly integrated, though blacks are seldom hired as top administrators. Even the greatest taboo – interracial sex – has been broken as marriages between blacks and whites have soared in recent years. The movement also helped white southerners escape the closed society they had designed and encouraged black northerners to return to the South in a reversal of the Great Migration. With race relations improved, blacks and whites engineered the South’s robust economy. The movement also spurred women, Latinos, Indians, Asians, gays, the elderly, and the disabled to use the philosophy and tactics of nonviolence to seek justice for themselves. And Congress scrapped its 40-year-old immigration policy in order to welcome all peoples, regardless of national origin.