Civil Rights Terms List

Vocabulary and Notables that led to Equality.

Here’s a basic list of terms, laws, and cases that would help one master an understanding of African American civil rights. Peruse the list and see which terms you are familiar with, and which ones you still need to master. Once you determine that, look up the definitions of the less-familiar terms. 


white primary


13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments

equal protection clause


Thurgood Marshall

Civil Rights Act 1964

Voting Rights Act 1965

de facto/de jure segregation

strict scrutiny test

heightened scrutiny test

rational basis test


suspect classification

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

Heart of Atlanta v. United States (1964)

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)