Before the 1960s, African American civil rights were severely encroached upon. All aspects of American life, from hospitals to schools to water fountains, were segregated,. Literacy tests, poll taxes, the grandfather clause, and pure intimidation kept African Americans out of the polls. The 1960s, the peak years of the civil rights movement, showed changes in the goals of the civil rights movement, evolving from desegregation to voting rights to equal economic opportunity; the accompanying strategiesshifted accordingly with the goals, litigation being more popular during the first goal; and the civil rights movement gained support from whites, including some prominent leaders, but lost some black support, as it progressed.
The goals of the African American civil rights movement changed as a catalysts provoked change, or the goals were achieved: the first goal, desegregation, lasted from 1947-1963; the goal of voting rights extended from 1963-1965, and the last goal equal economic opportunity and improving urban conditions, officially lasted from 1965-1968. In the early 1960s, the civil rights movement focused on targeting the rampant segregation. The movement continued to win desegregation victories through the other strategies, finally culminating in Johnsons 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlawed segregation in public accommodations and was specific to prevent the loopholes that other desegregation laws had contained. However, in September 1963, the Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed, killing four black girls. The shock and disgust that the African American community felt at the bombing caused the civil rights movement to schism. The two options were to shift the movement or become violent. As a result, the movement changed to focus on achieving voting rights, so that blacks could elect political.