The civil rights movement of the 20th century had a profound effect on Native American communities in Indian Land, South Carolina. Even before the Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, South Carolina had been enforcing segregation and the idea that Native Americans were second-class citizens. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Expulsion Act, which forced Native Americans to move west of the Mississippi River.
However, some tribes refused to abandon their ancestral lands, leading to the Supreme Court case of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia in 1831. This case established that indigenous tribes had a right to their lands and could not be forced to move from them. The American Indian Movement (AIM) was formed in the 1960s by urban Indians who believed that direct and militant confrontation with the United States government was the only way to obtain civil rights. Today, more than 250 member tribes are working to ensure their rights and benefits, inform the public about indigenous peoples, preserve rights under treaties or agreements with the United States, and promote the common welfare of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Native Americans are the only group of Americans who were forcibly removed from their lands so that others could claim them and their resources. This expulsion was symbolized by The Longer Walk in 1978, when a group of American Indians marched from San Francisco to Washington D.
C. In 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act, which ended the division of reserve land into parcels. In 1887, the Dawes Severalty Act divided reservation land into individual parcels and was another effort to assimilate Indians into white society. This act also infringed on indigenous lands and was met with resistance from Native Americans. One example of this resistance occurred in Robeson County, South Carolina in 1958 when a group of Indian men ambushed Klan members outside Lumbee territory instead of allowing them to meet and then caravan to Indian homes near Pembroke. The Bicentennial Project for Blacks and Native Americans from South Carolina 1776-1976 explored the issues surrounding these communities and published their findings in a book.
As Indians were driven from their tribal lands and saw their traditional cultures increasingly destroyed throughout the 19th century, a movement to protect their rights began to grow.