Civil Rights Timeline


Jackie Robinson Integrates Baseball


Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in sports on this date when he played his first game. Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Robinson, causing whites and blacks to be allowed to play on the same sports team.

Integration of the MIlitary


On this date, President Harry Truman acts to end segregation in the Armed Forces by ordering integration on all units. This lead to colored and white people fighting together as a team in the Korean War, and gave them the opportunity to feel as if they were a hero too.

Brown vs. Board of Education

Approx. 1951 - 05/17/1954

Oliver Brown (represented by Thurgood Marshall) sued the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas in 1951 because his daughter had to travel a long and dangerous path to get to the school for colored children.On May 17th 1954, justices rule that "in the field of public education, the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place." A year later, the Court ordered all local school boards to desegregate.

Emmett Till Murdered

08/24/1955 - 08/28/1955

Emmett Till was a 14-year old black American who was murdered due to the accusation of harassing a white woman in Money, Mississippi. He was brutally beaten, killed, and disposed of into a river by the woman's family.

Rosa Parks/Montgomery Bus Boycott

12/01/1955 - Approx. 11/1956

On December 1st 1955, Rosa Parks, who was a black seamstress, boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and when asked to move for a white man, she refused, and Parks was arrested. This lead to the decision that all African Americans would boycott the buses and walk, bike, or carpool to work. The boycott ended in November of 1956 when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses was not constitutional.

Integration of Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas


Since the Little Rock school board wanted to desegregate slowly, they approved a plan to send nine black students to attend Central High School, but when the students arrived, an angry mob had formed, which lead to the necessity of sending in a National Guard to protect the kids. Eisenhower stepped in later on, sending federal troops to get the kids into the school. This was the start to the desegregation of schools.

Greensboro, North Carolina Sit-In


The Greensboro Four, who were four black students, sat at a lunch counter in downtown Greensboro, where only whites were to be served. They refused to leave, and police arrived at the scene but wouldn't take action. The next day, they returned with other students, and that sparked a sit-in movement.

Creation of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Approx. 04/1960

The SNCC was founded in April 1960 by young people who were "leaders" of the sit-in protest movement in Greensboro, North Carolina (Feb. 1st) by four black college students. The SNCC aimed at desegregating buses, participated in marches, and helped direct many black voter registration drives.

Freedom Riders


Thirteen African-American and white civil rights activists, recruited by the Congress of Racial Equality, took a series of bus trips through the south to protest segregation on buses and in bus terminals, use "white only" facilities They left from Washington, D.C.

Children's March


Thousands of students gathered at 16th Street Baptist Church, which was located in Birmingham. They were arrested by the police, who turned turned fire hoses and attack dogs on them. This caught national attention.

Civil Rights Act


The bill of the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Johnson on July 2nd 1964 to end racial, religious, and national segregation in all public areas. It also forbade the ability to use federal funds to assist any discriminatory program.

Jimmy Lee Jackson Killed


Jimmy Lee Jackson was shot and killed by an Alabama state trooper while participating in a protest for the civil rights movement, trying to protect his mother and grandfather from the troops. The violence that occurred at the protest created the nickname "Bloody Sunday", and due to the violence, Americans began to favor civil rights.

March from Selma to Montgomery


In response to the death of Jimmy Lee Jackson, a group of about 600 people led a protest march on March 7th from Selma to Montgomery, but were stopped by Alabama state troopers who had whips, nightsticks, and tear gas and sent them back. When Martin Luther King Jr. tried to lead the march again, officials tried to stop it. But, President Johnson backed the marchers and allowed it- 2,000 people, guarded by military forces, marched from Selma on March 21st to Montgomery, arriving on the 25th.

Voting Rights Act


The Voting Rights Act was signed by President Johnson on August 6th, 1965. It banned literacy tests for African Americans and allowed federal officials to register voters from states that practiced discrimination and authorized the U.S. attorney general to oversee the use of poll taxes in state/local elections.