Integration of Central High School, Little Rock, AK

June 13, 1873

Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal, nine African American students—Minnijean Brown, Terrance Roberts, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls—attempted to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jimmy Lee Jackson Killed

December 1938

Born in Alabama in 1938, Jimmie Lee Jackson became part of the Civil Rights Movement as a young man. After participating in a peaceful protest in Alabama in February 1965, he was shot by a state trooper. He died a few days later. His death inspired a voting rights march; the violence at that protest—known as "Bloody Sunday"—made more Americans favor civil rights, and made it possible to pass 1965's Voting Rights Act. It won't let me put the other date in.

Jackie Roberson

April 15, 1947

Jackie was the first AA to join the major league

Integration of the Military

July 26 1948

Segregation in the armed forces since at least 1947, when he appointed the President's Committee on Civil Rights.

Brown vs. Board of Education

May 17 1952

Ended legal segregation in public schools

Emmett Till Murdered

August 28, 1955

While visiting family in Money, Mississippi, 14-year-old Emmett Till, an African American from Chicago, is brutally murdered for flirting with a white woman four days earlier. His assailants--the white woman's husband and her brother--made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, and then threw his body, tied to the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.

Rosa Parks/ Montgomery Busy Boycott

1 December 1955

She was tired after spending the day at work as a department store seamstress. She stepped onto the bus for the ride home and sat in the fifth row — the first row of the COLORED SECTION In Montgomery, Alabama, when a bus became full, the seats nearer the front were given to white passengers.

Montgomery bus driver JAMES BLAKE ordered Parks and three other African Americans seated nearby to move ("Move y'all, I want those two seats,") to the back of the bus.

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

By young people who had emerged as leaders of the sit-in protest movement initiated on February 1 of that year by four black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina. Although Martin Luther King, Jr. and others had hoped that SNCC would serve as the youth wing of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

Freedom Riders

May 4, 1961

In 1961, the Freedom Riders set out for the Deep South to defy Jim Crow laws and call for change. They were met by hatred and violence — and local police often refused to intervene. But the Riders' efforts transformed the civil rights movement.

Raymond Arsenault is the author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. The book details how volunteers — both black and white — traveled to Mississippi and Alabama to fight segregation in transit systems.

Despite being backed by recent federal rulings that it was unconstitutional to segregate bus riders, the Freedom Riders met with obstinate resistance — as in Birmingham and Montgomery, where white supremacists attacked bus depots themselves.

Children’s March

May 5, 1963

Arrest and jailing of King did little to attract more protestors, SCLC staff member James Bevel proposed recruiting local students, arguing that while many adults may be reluctant to participate in demonstrations for fear of losing their jobs

Civil Rights Act

July 2, 1964

Americans who knew only the potential of "equal protection of the laws" expected the president, the Congress, and the courts to fulfill the promise of the 14th Amendment. In response, all three branches of the federal government--as well as the public at large--debated a fundamental constitutional question: Does the Constitution's prohibition of denying equal protection always ban the use of racial, ethnic, or gender.

March from Selma to Montgomery

March 25, 1965

Martin Luther King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, where local African Americans, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had been campaigning for voting rights. King told the assembled crowd: ‘‘There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger at the side of its embattled Negroes’’ King, ‘‘Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March,’’ 121.

Voting Rights Act

August 6 1965

By 1965 concerted efforts to break the grip of state disfranchisement had been under way for some time, but had achieved only modest success overall and in some areas had proved almost entirely ineffectual. The murder of voting-rights activists in Philadelphia, Mississippi, gained national attention, along with numerous other acts of violence and terrorism.