Civil Rights Timeline

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Jackie Robinson Integrates Baseball

April 15, 1947

Jackie Robinson led other African Americans to compete in other professional sports and began the process of desegregating sports.

Integration of the Military

July 26, 1948

When the military was desegregated, it was one of the first attacks on segregation by the federal government.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

May 17, 1954

The Supreme Court declared segregation in schools to be illegal, which the civil rights movement was aiming for.

Emmett Till Murdered

August 28, 1955

The murder of Emmett Till and the subsequent biased trial drew attention to violence and prejudice in the South.

Rosa Parks Arrested

December 1, 1955

Rosa Parks' arrest led to the Montgomery bus boycott, which led to the Supreme Court declaring segregation on buses illegal.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 5, 1955 - December 21, 1956

The Montgomery bus boycott led to the Supreme Court declaring segregation on buses illegal, the emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a leader of the civil rights movement and his first victory.

Integration of Central High School, Little Rock

September 4, 1957 - May 25, 1958

The federal government showed that it would support civil rights laws and decisions and would enforce them with the military.

Greensboro Sit-Ins

February 1, 1960 - July 25, 1960

The Greensboro sit-ins spawned many other sit-ins across the South and eventually led to the integration of many dining facilities in the South as another victory for the civil rights movement.

Formation of the SNCC

April 15, 1960

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was one of the nation's most important civil rights groups, organizing many protests in the South.

Freedom Riders

May 4, 1961 - June 11, 1961

The Freedom Riders brought attention to the severity of segregation in the South when they tested a federal law prohibiting segregation in bus travel and were attacked several times as they traveled.

Children's March

May 2, 1963 - May 10, 1963

When child protesters recruited by the SCLC were attacked by the Birmingham police, it drew sympathy from the North and other countries at the injustice of segregation.

Civil Rights Act

July 2, 1964

The Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination based on sex, religion, color, or race and was a great victory of the civil rights movement.

Jimmy Lee Jackson Killed

February 18, 1965

Jimmy Lee Jackson's death outraged African Americans and the public and drew attention to the violence of segregation.

Selma to Montgomery Marches

March 7, 1965 - March 24, 1965

After three attempts to protest the murder of Jimmy Lee Jackson, 300 protesters made their way to Montgomery from Selma after being set upon by police, drawing attention to violence in segregation.

Voting Rights Act

August 6, 1965

The Voting Rights Act outlawed grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and other laws designed to keep African Americans from voting, which was a great success for the civil rights movement.