Why did progress in Civil Rights decline after 1965?

Essay by SpacechimpHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2004

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The late 1960s marked a slow down in the progress of the civil rights movement. Whereas, previously organisations such as the SCLC had played a vital part in progression, through non-violent techniques, there was no longer any such strong leadership. President Johnson attempted to overcome some of the problems in the North by proposing several bills, which had varying degrees of success for several reasons.

Originally he had hoped that his 1965 Voting Rights Act would alleviate some of the racial tensions, making it easier for blacks to vote. However, the main problems at this time were being faced by those in the North and could not be solved as easily, although politically there was equality, the situation in economic and social terms was much worse and this lead to rioting in such areas between 1965-1968. People in the North were more concerned with issues such as housing, employment and education.

Johnson's later legislation was therefore designed to tackle the de facto segregation being faced. As previously mentioned, one of the key problems in the North was education- Johnson tried to overcome this by introducing the Elementary and Secondary School Act. However, he encountered several problems - local officials were reluctant to implement the act and ghetto peer pressure/ traditions often prevented children from leaving their ghettos.

Often Bills would not even get this far because of intervention by congress, particularly uncooperative southern members, who feared a white backlash. In particular there was strong opposition to a bill in which housing discrimination was prohibited, as it was believed that it would lead to a drop in property values. When a housing act was finally introduced (1968) it was found that there were difficulties in its implementation.

Overall it was becoming clear that tackling these social and economic problems was...