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20 striking photos show the civil rights movement then ... and now.

The more things change, the more the fight remains.

The U.S. civil rights movement was a transformative, violent, lurching upheaval filled with blood, beauty, anger, love, and, finally, justice.

In 1865, the United States government abolished slavery. It gave black men the right to vote in 1870. The Civil Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, redefined America — outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin — ending segregation and other unfair practices that targeted black Americans.

But the movement isn't over.

Institutionalized racism is an awful and ingrained part of American life. Black people make up 13% of the population but are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white Americans. Black schoolchildren are three times more likely to be suspended. Black college graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed. U.S. law may promise equality, but reality, it seems, has not caught up.


So the fight continues.

And in many ways, it's not all that different from the one that's already in our history books:

1. Marchers filled the streets of Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965...

Image by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

And in Washington, D.C., in December 2014.

Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

2. These are the signs black protestors carried in 1963 when they marched for jobs and freedom...

Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

And these are the signs they carry today...

Image by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Civil rights leader John Lewis stood up for black rights in 1963...

Major American leaders of the black civil rights movement (left to right): John Lewis, Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and Roy Wilkins. Image Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images.

...and still fights for them today as a member of Congress representing Georgia.

Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

4. Police were a formidable and regular presence at rallies throughout the 1960s...

Image by Express Newspapers/Getty Images.

...and continue to be so today.

Image by Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images.

5. Police violence at civil rights demonstrations was common.

Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

50+ years later, not a lot has changed.

Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

6. Cops and soldiers used tear gas to disperse crowds...

Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

...just as they do now.

Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

7. In 1965, civil rights leaders marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to demand equality...

Image by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

On last year's 50th anniversary, they marched again.

A big difference: This time, the first black president of the United States marched hand-in-hand with them. Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

8. Civil rights supporters marked the deaths of victims of violence with memorials then...

14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched for whistling at a white woman in 1955. Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

...just as we do now.

This memorial marks the spot where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking with his hoodie up in a gated Florida community. Image by Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images.

9. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Equal Rights Amendment.

Image by AFP/Getty Images.

In January 2017, Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, will finish his second term.

Image by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

10. In the 1960s, civil rights protestors brought their children to march alongside them...

Image by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

...and they do the same at marches today.

Image by Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said: "I have decided to stick with love. ... Hate is too great a burden to bear."

And what's fighting for equality if not an act of love?

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