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Explore Civil Rights Online

Inform Yourself

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Watch video of key moments in the struggle to end racial discrimination. The Gettysburg Address in 1863, during the height of the Civil War, is considered a turning point in Americans’ understanding of equality and freedom. Read the text of the speech at www.gettysburg.com/bog/address.htm. Next, watch a video of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington, and consider how far the country had come since the Gettysburg address a century earlier. Finally, watch a video of Barack Obama’s speech as he accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2008 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQGsP8mnHsg) and consider that, just 45 years after Martin Luther King Jr., an African American is president of the United States. Will African Americans achieve full equality with whites in the years to come?
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Learn about the women’s suffrage movement. The fight for equality in the political sphere was also a long one for women seeking the right to vote in elections, and continues today in the fight for policy representation and political influence in government. Visit the Library of Congress’s photo collection of the women’s suffrage movement. Hear an argument for LGBT rights. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a video in 2011 stating that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals deserve equal rights, and that LGBT rights are human rights. Learn more about her argument by clicking the video link. What is one issue (of the five) that Secretary Clinton says needs to be addressed in order to reach a global consensus on human rights?
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Connect with Others

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Connect with rights organizations. The objective of the Leadership Conference, an organization with more than 200 subsidiary organizations, is “to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States.” Go to its “Action Center” page (www.civilrights.org/action_center/action-center.html) to read through the current issues or consider signing one of its online petitions. What issues relate most to you?

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