Civil Rights Timeline


Jackie Robinson Integrates Baseball

April 15 1947 - 1955

The example of Robinson's character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.

Integration of the Military

July 26 1948

"It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."

Brown vs Board of Education

1951 - 1954

Oliver L. Brown's daughter Linda, a third grader, had to walk six blocks to her school bus stop to ride to Monroe Elementary, her segregated black school one mile away, while Sumner Elementary, a white school, was seven blocks from her house.

Emmett Till Murdered

August 28 1955

"The open-coffin funeral held by Mamie Till Bradley exposed the world to more than her son Emmett Till's bloated, mutilated body. Her decision focused attention not only on American racism and the barbarism of lynching but also on the limitations and vulnerabilities of American democracy."

Rosa Parks/Montgomery Busy Boycott

December 1 1955 - December 5 1956

The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person,on December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional

Integration of Central High School, Little Rock, AK

September 23 1957

Nine African-American students, known as the Little Rock Nine, were denied entrance to the school in defiance of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering integration of public schools. This provoked a showdown between the Governor Orval Faubus and President Dwight D. Eisenhower that gained international attention.

Sit-In- Greensboro, NC

February 1 1960

While not the first sit-ins of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the Greensboro sit-ins were an instrumental action, leading to increased national sentiment at a crucial period in US history.

Creation of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

April 1960

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was one of the most important organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It emerged from a student meeting organized by Ella Baker held at Shaw University in April 1960.

Freedom Riders

May 4 1961 - November 1 1961

At the time, most blacks in southern states had been unable to register to vote, due to constitutions, laws and practices that had effectively disfranchised most of them since the turn of the twentieth century.

Children’s March

May 2 1963 - May 5 1963

The marches were stopped due to the head of police "Bull Connor" who brought fire hoses to ward off the children and set police dogs after the children.

Civil Rights Act

July 2 1964

The Civil Rigĥts Act of 1964 is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Jimmy Lee Jackson Killed

February 26 1965

Police clubbed Cager Lee to the floor in the kitchen and continued to beat the cowering octogenarian Lee. When his daughter Viola attempted to pull the police off, she was also beaten. When Jackson attempted to protect his mother, one trooper threw him against a cigarette machine and a second trooper shot Jackson twice in the abdomen.

March from Selma to Montgomery

March 7 1965 - March 25 1965

On March 7, 1965, an estimated 525 to 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Highway 80. The protest went according to plan until the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where they found a wall of state troopers waiting for them on the other side.

Voting Rights Act

August 6 1965

Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act allowed for a mass enfranchisement of racial minorities