Civil Rights Glossary

Vocabulary words that will help students understand the civil rights movement and the Montgomery bus boycott

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Appeal: To ask for a decision made by a court of law to be changed.

Boycott: To refuse to buy something or to take part in something as a way of protesting.

Creed: A system of beliefs; a guiding belief.

Defiance: The act of refusing to obey someone or some organization.

Discrimination: Prejudice or unjust behavior to others based on differences in age, race, gender, and so on.

Harass: To pester or annoy someone.

Integrate: To include people of all races.

Oppression: The act of treating people in a cruel and unjust way.

Provoke: To annoy someone and make the person angry.

Restrictive: Confining or keeping within limits.

Retaliatory: Revengeful; used to describe something unpleasant done to someone because the person has done something unpleasant to you.

Segregate: To separate or keep people or things apart from the main group.

Segregation: The act or practice of keeping people or groups apart.

Sharecropper: A farmer who gives a share of the crop to the landowner.

Tactics: Plans or methods to win a game or battle or achieve a goal.

Trivial: Not very important.

Unconstitutional: Not in keeping with the basic principles or laws set forth in the constitution of a state or country, especially the Constitution of the United States.

Violate: To break a promise, a rule, or a law.

This glossary has been adapted from the Scholastic Children's Dictionary.