Main civil rights moments in each state | Information

A land of contradictions from the beginning, the United States was founded by slave owners who spoke passionately and eloquently about freedom, liberty, and justice for all. In the beginning, “everything” was restricted to men of European descent who were rich enough to own land. The protection of the Constitution did not apply to most people in America – at least not entirely – for much of American history.

Women – about 50% of the population – were not included in the concept of “all” land, as were millions of slaves – and for a long time their descendants. The descendants of the Native Americans were generally excluded from America’s promise, as were many immigrants, ethnic groups, and religious minorities.

With all the work still to be done, all of these groups and many others now enjoy freedoms that had to be won – won through the courts, through the court of public opinion, through mass demonstrations, through legislation, through boycotts and in many cases through martyrdom.

To broaden the definition of “everything”, powerless people must challenge the power structures that benefit from their status as second-class citizens. They often do so at great risk to their work, reputation, home, and in many cases, their lives. Even so, courageous supporters and activists fought the good fight in every state in America. Each state has a unique story to tell about the epic civil rights struggles that have been waged there and those that continue. The following is a tiny part of their collective endeavors.

Using a variety of sources, Stacker identified a pivotal moment for civil rights in all 50 states. They stand out for a variety of reasons and resulted in changes that raised different groups, but they all prove how much can be achieved – and how much is still to be achieved.

Click through to find out your state’s contribution to civil rights.

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