14th Amendmen

Passed by the Senate on June 8, 1866, and ratified two years later, on July 9, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to all persons "born or naturalized in the United States," including formerly enslaved people, and provided all citizens with “equal protection under the laws,” extending the provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states.

15th Amendment

The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on February 3, 1870. The amendment reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The 15th Amendment guaranteed African American men the right to vote. In addition, the right to vote could not be denied to anyone in the future based on a person’s race.

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

one-drop rule

The one-drop rule is a legal principle of racial classification that was prominent in the 20th-century United States. It asserted that any person with even one ancestor of black ancestry ("one drop" of "black blood") is considered black (Negro or colored in historical terms)

respectability politics

Respectability politics refers to the set of beliefs and behaviors within marginalized communities aimed at conforming to mainstream societal norms and standards, often in an effort to gain acceptance and respect from the dominant culture.

social institutions

Social institutions are mechanisms or patterns of social order focused on meeting social needs, such as government, economy, education, family, healthcare, and religion.

white by treaty

This cultural segregation was directly related to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (which ended the Mexican American War). The treaty dictated that people of Mexican descent who lived in the United States were eligible for naturalized citizenship, which at that time was only open to “Whites.” Therefore, Mexicans and their descendants were “white by treaty.” Their legal whiteness protected them from legal segregation (which was one of the reasons that the military did not segregate Mexican Americans), but it did not save them from de facto segregation.


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