Thanks to a lot of brave civil rights workers and demonstrators (of all races) and some politically courageous leaders the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act were passed. Those laws ended legalized racism, but they did not end all racism. The racism had been institutionalized in our society and that made it very hard to get rid of. Even the election of an African-American president has not ended this racism (although many on the right would like us to believe it did).
The ideal would be a true meritocracy -- where each person is judged only by his/her character and skills. But we are still a long way from that. I found these words by H. Roy Kaplan at the excellent blog called Racism Review, and I thought they were worth passing along (and I urge you to go over and read the entire post):