What was the Civil Rights movement in America? The Civil Rights movement in the United States began in 1954. The G.I. Bill contributed to the civil rights movement in many ways. Educated people of all races began to demand equal pay for equal work as well as equal justice under the law. In that year the United States Supreme Court ruled that America’s public schools could no longer be segregated. Segregated meant that students of different races were “set apart” in different schools from each other. During the years of segregation, Anglo children went to one school, and African American, Mexican, and Chinese students were sent to another school. This historic Supreme Court decision was known as Brown versus the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas. Americans were challenged to assure that all Americans were treated fairly and equally in obtaining a job, buying a home, by law enforcement officers, and the courts. On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, a young African American woman, Rosa Parks, refused to give up her bus seat and move to the back seat of the bus. She was arrested. Her courage to stand up against the terrible segregation laws of the South would begin the American Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Alabama to help Ms. Parks. As a result of helping Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became the leader of the non-violent Civil Rights Movement in America. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1964 for his leadership in America’s Civil Rights movement. 154  Chapter 15 • People at Work Today