Civil rights protest activity had an observable impact on white American's views on race and politics over time. White people who live in counties in which civil rights protests of historical significance occurred have been found to have lower levels of racial resentment against blacks, are more likely to identify with the Democratic Party as well as more likely to support affirmative action.
One study found that non-violent activism of the era tended to produce favorable media coverage and changes in public opinion focusing on the issues organizers were raising, but violent protests tended to generate unfavorable media coverage that generated public desire to restore law and order.
At the culmination of a legal strategy pursued by African Americans, in 1954 the Supreme Court struck down many of the laws that had allowed racial segregation and discrimination to be legal in the United States as unconstitutional. The Warren Court made a series of landmark rulings against racist discrimination, including the separate but equal doctrine, such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954), Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States (1964), and Loving v. Virginia (1967) which banned segregation in public schools and public accommodations, and struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage. The rulings played a crucial role in bringing an end to the segregationist Jim Crow laws prevalent in the Southern states. In the 1960s, moderates in the movement worked with the United States Congress to achieve the passage of several significant pieces of federal legislation that authorized oversight and enforcement of civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly banned all discrimination based on race, including racial segregation in schools, businesses, and in public accommodations. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 restored and protected voting rights by authorizing federal oversight of registration and elections in areas with historic under-representation of minority voters. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.