Civil Rights Timeline

Events

13th Amendment

January 31, 1865

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

14th Amendment

July 9, 1868

Granted citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," which included former slaves recently freed.

15th Amendment

February 26, 1869

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Plessy V. Ferguson

May 18, 1896

Was a landmark constitutional law case of the US Supreme Court. It upheld state racial segregation laws for public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal".

Brown V. Board of Education

May 17, 1954

Was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy V. Ferguson decision of 1896, which allowed state-sponsored segregation, insofar as it applied to public education.

Little Rock Nine Incident

1957

Was a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas.

SCLC Forms

January 10, 1957

Is an African American civil rights organization. SCLC, which is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr, had a large role in the American Civil Rights Movement.

SNCC Forms

April 1960

Often pronounced was one of the most important organizations of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It emerged from a student meeting organized by Ella Baker held at Shaw University.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

April 16, 1963

Is an open letter written, by Martin Luther King Jr. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism.

March on Washington

August 28, 1963

The purpose of the march was to stand up for civil and economic rights for African Americans during a time when racism was more prevalent throughout society. At the march, Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in which he called for an end to racism.

Birmingham Bombing

September 15, 1963

Was an act of white supremacist terrorism which occurred at the African American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, when four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the front steps of the church. Described by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as "one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity", the explosion at the church killed four girls and injured 22 others.

24th Amendment

January 23, 1964

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

1964 Civil Rights Act

July 2, 1964

Is a landmark civil rights and US labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public.

Malcolm X Assassinated

February 21, 1965

The former Nation of Islam leader was shot and killed by assassins identified as Black Muslims as he was about to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem.

Voting Rights Act

August 6, 1965

Aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment.

MLK Assassinated

April 4, 1968

MLK was an American clergyman and civil rights leader who was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Robert Kennedy Assassinated

June 5, 1968

It was just after midnight that Robert F. Kennedy's presidential dreams - along with the hopes of a weary nation - were cut short. Kennedy, known Bobby, was shot and killed by assassin Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian/Jordanian immigrant who was upset with RFK over his support of Israel.

Bloody Sunday

January 30, 1972

Sometimes called the Bogside Massacre was an incident in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, when British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest march against internment. Fourteen people died thirteen were killed outright, while the death of another man four months later was attributed to his injuries.