Civil rights progress from 1970s onwards

Although the prospect of civil rights and equality for African Americans looked to have experienced a set back by the start of the 1970s, progress was made.

In 1972, the United States Congress passed two laws: The Equal Employment Opportunity Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.

Together these laws were known as ‘affirmative action’. affirmative action made it necessary for the government agencies, state governments, local governments and public organisations to hire more African Americans.

Barrack Obama
Barrack Obama

Many African Americans also went on to own their own businesses – there were over 300,000 African American owned businesses in the USA by 1982.

African Americans became more involved in local and national politics. Jesse Jackson twice sought to gain the Democratic Presidential Nomination in the 1980s.

The position of US Secretary of State was occupied by two African Americans from 2001 until 2009, Colin Powell and then Condoleezza Rice.

Barrack Obama became the first black President of the USA in 2009. Yet the remaining unconscious bias in many white people that still negatively impacts the lives of many African Americans, most notably seen in Police brutality, is cause for new campaigns such as Black Lives Matter.

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