Minority Rights, 1960-80

  • Created by: TeganLM
  • Created on: 10-04-19 10:14

Native Americans- issues

  • federal Bureau of Indian Affairs shifted between breaking up or supporting tribal existence
  • 1953: policy of 'termination'- N.A were freed from federal conrol but their tribal lands would be up for sale- resisted by many
  • Tribal Homelands:  many N.A. had been driven from their homelands following the 1830 Indian Removal Act
  • federal government made treaties (often by force) with the tribes- by the 1960s, generally acknowledged they were unfair
  • Self-determination: tribes controlled their own affairs but only under the control of the BIA
  • BIA had implemented policies to break up N.A. culture (e.g. Indian Boarding Schools- forced children to give up Native customs and language)
  • N.A. wanted the freedom to control their own affairs
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Native Americans- protest

  • 1968: Indian Civil Rights Act banned tribes from restricting the civil rights of tribal members- does nothing to adress issues N.A. have with government
  • AIM (American Indian Movement) set up 1968
  • members mostly young and urban
  • National Congress of American Indians already existed- worked within the system
  • AIM took a more radical approach- 'Red Power'
  • sit-ins, demonstrations and occupations
  • 20th Nov 1969: Alcatraz Red Power movement takes over Alcatraz Island and occupies it until 1971
  • 1971: AIM membership is around 4,500 (total N.A. population around 1 million)
  • 1972: AIM occupy the BIA building during a protest
  • 1973: AIM clash with US marshalls and the state police at Wounded Knee in Dakota- government agrees to investigate its demands and grievances
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Native Americans- gains and limitations

  • Nixon sympathised with N.A. campaigners- felt it should be possible to make changes for a relatively small population
  • 1972 Indian Education Act- provides funds for tribal schools
  • 1974 Indian Financing Act- lent tribes funds for development/growth
  • 1975 Indian Self-Determination Act- maintained the BIA but contracted out health and education- gave tribes more control
  • Helped by 1975 extension of the Voting Rights Act 
  • 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act- gave N.A. more control over the adoption of Native American children
  • 1970: Congress returns land at Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo tribe


  • Nixon's administration didn't reform the BIA
  • no renegotiations over Native American sacred sites
  • no overall solution to land issues and various states (e.g. Hawaii) continued to evict Indians from land if the state wanted it 
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Hispanic Americans- issues

  • Land: border between US and Mexico was highly contested- Mexicans were displaced in some areas
  • Workers' rights: Hispanic farm workers (e.g. those working in the bracero programme) often had appaling living and working conditions- most workers had no unions and were easily replaced by illegal migrant workers
  • Discrimination: Hispanic Americans faced the same problems of discrimination as black Americans- lived in the worst parts of cities, with poor government provision
  • Deportation: US immigration services deported millions of Hispanic people from 1953 onwards (Operation ******* 1953-58: around 3.8 million deported)
  • bracero programme from 1942-64: Mexicans signed contracts to work, often on the land in the US for a set period of time in return for a guaranteed level of housing and working conditions- around 4.6 million contracts signed
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Hispanic Americans- protest

  • Cesar Chavez creates the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in 1962- mostly Mexican membership- non-violent campaign
  • 1965: Delano grape boycott
  • Rodolfo Gonzalez focused on issues of race- worked initially within the system but then founds Crusade for Justice in 1966- stressed the importance of fighting for Hispanic rights locally through direct action
  • Brown Berets (militant organisation like the Black Panthers) created 1967 in East LA
  • June 1968: 10,000 students walk out of schools in East LA- 13 activists are arrested
  • 1973: widespread strikes and demonstrations after 1970 farm worker contracts are not renewed
  • Thousands arrested, two killed
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Hispanic Americans- gains and limitations


  • legal acceptance of Hispanic citizens was slow
  • 1954 Hernandez v Texas ruling- ruled Hispanic Americans were legal citizens
  • 1966: Cuban American Adjustment Act- all cubans who had lived in the USA for a year were permanent residents (no other Hispanic group given this right)
  • 1974 Equal Opportunities Act: provided for more bilingual teaching assistance in schools
  • 1975 Voting Rights Act extension provides language assistance at polling stations and extended rights to Native Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic groups


  • Level of change varied from state to state
  • Land issues were not settled
  • Legal enforcement of rights did not always happen
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Gay rights

  • 1950: Congress said that homosexuality was a mental illness
  • Homosexuality was illegal in every state in the US until 1962
  • founded after police raid on Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village on 28th June 1969
  • around 400 people fought back to the police who barricaded themselves in the bar
  • for several nights: protests and clashes with police in the area around the bar
  • Gay Liberation Front created in the weeks after the riot
  • Gay Pride marches held in several cities on 28th August 1970- New York march had 10,000 marchers
  • Highly visible gay communities sprang up in New York, San Francisco etc.
  • As early as 1977: polls suggested that over 50% of people supported equal rights for gays
  • people realised that people they knew and liked were gay
  • However: still very vocal anti-gay groups e.g. the KKK
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Gay rights- gains and limitations


  • 1974: Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly gay candidate elected to public office
  • 1977: Harvey Milk elected in San Francisco
  • Proposition 6 is defeated in 1978
  • 1958: Supreme Court rules that the postal service cannot ban a gay magazine as 'obscene'
  • Between 1979 and 81: 4 openly gay state judges appointed in California


  • 1970s conservative backlash
  • start of campaign against gay rights
  • Save Our Children created in Florida 1977- campaigned against anti-discrimination laws
  • claimed that gay integration would 'corrupt normal children'
  • had some success in halting the passing of anti-discrimination laws
  • religous right became more outspoken 
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