Civil Rights and Protests

African-American Protests of the Post-Civil Rights Movement

What was the importance of the United States Commission on Civil Rights?

The Civil Rights Commission was established by Congress in 1957 as a temporary, independent bipartisan agency. Its purpose is to investigate complaints by citizens who claim that their voting rights were violated because of their race, color, religion, national origin, or other fraudulent practices. The commission also studies and collects information on cases denying equal protection under the law and examines federal laws and policies that relate to such protection. Often called a “Civil Rights Watch Dog,” the commission plays “a vital role in advancing civil rights through objective and comprehensive investigation, research, and analysis on issues of fundamental concern to the federal government and the public.” Findings and recommendations of the commission are reported to the President and Congress. Congress and the President appoint the eight members who compose the commission. Since it was created, Congress has reauthorized or extended the legislation creating the commission several times, the last time by the Civil Rights Commission Amendments Act of 1994. In 1972 Juanita Goggins became the first black woman appointed to the commission. The first black chair of the commission was Clarence M. Pendleton Jr.


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