In the decade that followed the Brown decision, blacks made tremendous strides. Not only did their problems and concerns become the focal point of the nation, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they won the most significant reform in race relations since Reconstruction. The law outlawed discrimination in employment, secured equal access to public accommodations, and provided the federal government with the authority to enforce these and other laws. Moreover, Lyndon Baines Johnson's landslide victory in the 1964 election seemed to display broad support for the liberal agenda, including further civil rights legislation and the War on Poverty.
Yet, the strains of the civil rights struggle were beginning to show. Freedom Summer left SNCC, CORE, and many of their friends disillusioned with the Democratic Party and liberalism in general. Founded as multiracial organizations dedicated to the principle of nonviolence, SNCC and CORE engaged in heated debates over the value of both. In the North, urban riots took place in Harlem and Rochester, New York, revealing the deep frustrations of millions of blacks for whom the civil rights movement had had little affect. In addition, even in defeat, Barry Goldwater's campaign (the Republican presidential nominee), along with George Wallace's limited though surprisingly successful primary efforts, provided hints of a nascent backlash against the civil rights movement.
Before internal strains tore the civil rights movement apart or backlash congealed, however, a broad coalition emerged in Selma, Alabama. Spearheaded by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Selma campaign captured the nation's attention and produced the greatest outpouring of support for the civil rights movement in history. Ultimately, President Johnson called for and won passage of voting rights legislation.