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Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
The 1960's
Civil Rights - An Introduction



Civil Rights - An Introduction
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.6

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    ruling, self-evident, unalienable, theaters, constitutional, unconstitutional, uninformed, citizenship, restrooms, founding, reading, priority, truth, government, public, citizen
     content words:    Civil War, United States, Homer Plessy, United States Supreme Court


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Civil Rights - An Introduction
By Jane Runyon
  

1     According to our founding fathers, equality has always been a top priority in our government. The Declaration of Independence, written in 1776 even states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. " It really looks good on paper. The truth is, people in this land have not always been equal.
 
2     The first settlers in this new land set up their own governments. They wanted the decisions of government to be made by the people. In order to get a vote in this new government, you had to be a man, a land owner, and white. That excluded women, who were thought to be too delicate and uninformed to vote on anything. It also excluded blacks, who were considered property since most had been purchased as slaves.
 
3     As our country evolved, the standards of equality changed slightly. In time, all white males, whether they owned land or not, could vote. Then the vote was opened up to all males. Not all people believed black males should have the right to vote. There were certain restrictions placed on voting. In some areas, blacks had to take tests which included reading documents. Blacks had not been given an education. It was hard for them to pass these tests. In other areas, blacks were asked to pay a tax at the polling place. They had to pay to vote.

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