What does it mean to have equal rights? It means to have the same privileges as other people, no matter their race or religion (World Book). After the Civil War, the southern states made laws to segregate African Americans and whites in all public areas. For example, Jim Crow laws made sure that there were separate public water fountains, schools, buses, trains and bathrooms for African American and white people. The problem was, the public facilities for African Americans were not as nice as the ones for whites. On buses, African Americans had to sit at the back. If a white person came on the bus, and there were no more seats, a African American person would have to give up their seat. This means that the African Americans did not have the same privileges as the whites. This unequal treatment of the African Americans led up to the Civil Rights Movement.Civil rights activists such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. wanted African American people to have the same rights as the white people. African Americans were being treated very badly before, during and even after the Civil Rights Movement. The conflict was that African American people kept getting worse treatment during segregation and white people kept getting better treatment during segregation. The white people did not want to lose this unfair better treatment. So, some white supremacists formed groups such as the KKK to not lose this better treatment. Civil rights activist Malcolm X urged his supporters to defend themselves against the KKK and other groups who were trying to keep this level of unfairness and better treatment. Malcolm X actually said: “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery (Malcolm X 1).” This is a different opinion than Martin Luther King Jr. had. Martin Luther King Jr. said ” Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that (BrainyQuote 2).” In contrast, Malcolm X thought that violent protests were useful. But, both of these people were very important civil rights activists even though they were so different. Overall, African Americans had to do many things to gain their racial equality. Civil rights activists did many things to create a change in segregation. African Americans (and even some whites) boycotted, did sit-ins, and other protests. An example of a peaceful protest is the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This protest happened in December 1956 and was thought of as the first large protest against segregation (Civil Rights Movement 1). In this boycott, civil rights activists refused to go on buses. They did this because they had to sit in the back of the bus so they were the last ones to get out. If they went in the front and a white person asked for them to go to the back so they could get the seat, but the African American person refused, they would most likely go to jail. The civil rights activists thought this was very unfair. So, to avoid that, African Americans did not go on buses. To get around, they either walked or got a ride from a volunteer. The bus companies lost all of the money that the African American people would have paid because of the protest. When Civil Rights activists protested, they wanted the right of equal treatment under the law. The Declaration of Independence said that all people were created equal (U.S History 1). So, therefore the Jim Crow laws go against the very foundations of the U.S. government. After the Montgomery Bus boycott happened, other boycotts and protests erupted all over the U.S. Because of the earlier protests, African Americans AND some whites realized that segregation was unfair. Because of the Civil Rights Movement, many people benefited. On July 2, 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed (Wikipedia 1).This was the law that made racial segregation illegal. This act made the Jim Crow laws illegal. “Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. Enacted by white Democratic-dominated state legislatures in the late 19th century after the Reconstruction period, these laws continued to be enforced until 1965” (Wikipedia 2). This means that you cannot make separate public facilities for different people. It was now illegal to put up a sign in America that said “Colored Only” or “White Only.” Even though the Civil Rights Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1964, the Southern part of the the U.S. and the Northern part of the U.S. still disagreed on the topic of racial equality. In Arkansas, in 1954, nine African American students went to a school, that, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was all white. There were angry mobs. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made sure that the African American students did not get hurt. He ordered that the army’s 101st Airborne division should protect these nine students (Wikipedia 3). The Northern part of the U.S. generally supported racial equality more than the Southern part of the U.S. Sometimes, the people in the North were not aware of the level of discrimination in the South. In the North, they supported the Civil Rights Movement even more strongly when the saw the news coverage of the treatment of African Americans in the South. This new law did technically resolve the conflict of equal rights of African Americans. However, there are still protests. For example, there was a protest in St. Louis in 2017 about a shooting in 2014. A white police officer shot an unarmed African American driver. This shows that there is still conflict about the treatment of African American people in the United States.The Civil Rights Act of 1964 affected every person in the U.S. President Barack Obama once said, “Because of the Civil Rights Movement, new doors of opportunity and education swung open for everybody… Not just for African Americans and whites, but also women and Latinos; and Asians and Native Americans; and gay Americans and Americans with a disability.” (Parade 1) Many groups of people were affected because of the civil rights movement. Even though African Americans were mostly trying to win their rights, many other groups got more equal privileges. Equal rights means that all groups get the same privileges. Gay people, for example, were discriminated against, but after the civil rights movement, people started to accept them. Because of the civil rights movement, African Americans gained more privileges and rights. Some of the activists in the civil rights movement were Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., who used different tactics to gain more rights. Civil rights activists did protests to gain more rights. For example, there was the Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by Martin Luther King Jr. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made segregation illegal. Overall, there has been progress in eliminating segregation for African Americans as well as other groups but, the U.S still needs a little more progress to make sure everyone has equal rights.