Evolution of Civil Rights


Dred Scott v. Sanford

1856 - 1857

African Americans were not US citizens and did not have the right to sue in federal court. Congress could not ban slavery in US territories.

Thirteenth 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.

Fourteenth Amendment

July 9, 1868

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Fifteenth Amendment

February 3, 1870

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.

Plessy v. Ferguson


Segregation was Constitutional provided that conditions were 'separate but equal'

Nineteenth Amendment

August 8, 1920

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 sex

Korematsu v. United States


The Supreme Court ruled that the internment of Japanese Americans was Constitutional

Hernandez v. Texas


The Fourteenth Amendment protects citizens of all races, not just white and African American

first and only Mexican-American civil rights case

Brown v. Board of Education

May 17, 1954

Outlawed segregation in public schools.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

July 2, 1964

Outlaws discrimination based on race, religion, sex, etc.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

August 6, 1965

Overruled discriminatory legal barriers prohibiting African Americans from being able to vote.

Reed v. Reed


The administrators of estates cannot be name in such a way that discriminates by gender

Equal Rights Amendment


Forbade discrimination based on gender. Passed Congress but wasn't ratified by Southern states.

Regents v. Bakke


the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality of affirmative action

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

July 26, 1990

Prohibits discrimination due to disabilities.

Adarand Constructors Inc. v. Pena


All racial classifications must have a compelling purpose.

Extra Cases

Civil Rights Landmarks not mentioned on our outline sheet

Illinois decriminalizes homosexuality

July 1961

Illinois becomes the first state in the union to legalize homosexuality.

Stonewall Riots

June 28, 1969 - July 1, 1969

Marked the beginning of the gay rights movement after a police raid against the gay community

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Act

February 28, 1994 - September 20, 2011

Allowed LGBT individuals to serve in the military as long as they weren't open about it (repealed in 2011)

Obergefell v. Hodges

June 26, 2015

Same-sex marriage is legalized in all fifty states

Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado


Ongoing case deciding a company's right to refuse service based on sexual orientation.