ACLU History: Fighting for Racial Justice
1964: During 'Freedom Summer,' students in Mississippi are trained to register black voters who have been denied the vote by discriminatory Jim Crow laws.
'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'
-- The Declaration of Independence
While the law provides equal opportunity in theory, it is too often denied in fact. The ACLU is committed to combating racism in all its forms. Its advocacy includes litigation, community organizing and training, legislative initiatives, and public education to address the broad spectrum of issues that disproportionately and negatively impact people of color.
The 'separate but equal' doctrine that long served as the legal basis for racial segregation resulted in blacks living separate but far from equal lives. The ACLU, from its very first days, fought for racial justice and an end to systemic racism. Today, race remains the critical dividing line in American society.