Civil Rights


Brown v. The Board of Ed. of Topeka KS

May 17, 1954

The Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to have separate schools for black and white children. This occurred when Oliver Brown attempted to enroll his daughter in a white school, that was closer to their home.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 1, 1955

This was a protest against the segregation of the public transit system in Montgomery, Alabama. The boycott began with an African American Woman, Rosa Parks, who was arrested for her refusal to give up her seat on a public bus to a white person. This boycott lasted until December 20, 1956 when the Supreme Court ruled that the Alabama laws requiring segregated busses to be unconstitutional. Many civil rights activists took part in this boycott.

The Establishmant of the SCLC

January 1957

Civl Rights activists Martin Luther King Jr., Charles K. Steele, and Fred L. Shuttlesworth created the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). MLK was the president of this organization. They worked to organize the Civil Rights Movement through the use of nonviolent protests and civil disobedience.

Center High School in Little Rock Arizona

September, 1957

In the Brown v. Board of Education the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional, and from then on would be prohibited. At Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas 9 black students were enrolled in the newly desegregated school. The Governor, Orval Faubus, refused to let them enter. President Eisenhower then intervened with troops, escorting the children to school. The Little Rock Crisis would become one of the most important events of the Civl Rights Movement.

Civil Rights Act of 1957

September 9, 1957

This act was the first legislative action to protect civil rights since the end of the Civil War. This Act included important provisions to protect voting rights, despite influential southern congressmen's attempts to shrink the bills power.

The Sit-Ins

February 1, 1960

Four freshman from North Carolina Ag. and Tech College entered an F.W> Wooworth Company store where they purchased school supplies. They also waited in the segregated lunch line, knowing that they would not be served, but silently protesting. These protests had little effect at first, but as the Civil Rights Movement progressed, sit-ins became more popular, and more effective.

Establishment of the SNCC

April 1960

The Shaw University founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This offered a place for young blacks in the civil rights movement. Under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael the SNCC grew to be a more radical organization.

The Freedom Riders

May 4, 1961

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate busses into segregated parts of the South. They did this to test the Supreme Courts ruling in Boynton v. Virginia (1960) that segregation in interstate busses and railways was unconstitutional. Riders were ofter arrested in Southern states for unlawful assembly and the violation of Jim Crows Laws. White mobs frequently attacked freedom riders, and local law enforcement sometimes cooperated with the KKK. Most rides were sponsored by CORE.

Federal Transportation Commission desegregates Interstate Transportation

September 22, 1961

The Interstate Commerce Commission desegregates interstate transportation and transportation facilities. Segregation was prohibited within interstate travel, and required busses to post signs stating that seating on the bus i without regard to race, color, or origin.

Ole Miss if forced to admit James Meredith

October 1, 1962

In 1962 James Meredith was the first black student to attend the recently desegregated Ole Miss. White students and segregation supporters protested his enrollment, and rioted on campus. Robert Kennedy, in response to this, called in military troops, to take control. Meredith eventually graduated from Ole Miss, with a degree.

Demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama


. It was a strategic movement organized by South Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to bring attention to the unequal treatment of blacks in Birmingham. The protests began with boycotts, and, when those were unsuccessful, started a series of sit-ins and marches. This brought national attention to the issue and eventually Birmingham’s public places became more open to blacks.

Assassination of Medgar Evers

June 12, 1963

Medgar Evers, the NAACP field secretary, was murdered outside of his home. The suspect, Bryon De La Beckwith was tried twice in1964, both time resulting n a hung jury. Thirty years later he was finally convicted of the murder.

The March on Washington

August 28, 1963

The March on Washington was a protest by which both blacks and whites marched on the city. They were protesting te segregation and job discrimination against blacks. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech here.

Fannie Lou Hamer's Speech of the MDFP


Fannie Lou Hamer was the cofounder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In 1964, the MDFP challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Hamer spoke in front of the Credentials Committee in a televised proceeding. She told the committee how African-Americans in many states across the country were prevented from voting through illegal tests, taxes, and intimidation. As a result of her speech, two delegates of the MDFP were given speaking rights at the convention and the other members were seated as honorable guests.

Freedom Summer


In the summer of 1964, there was a very public campaign in the south, where blacks were encouraged to vote in the coming election.

Ratification of the 24th Amendment

January 23, 1964

The 24th Amendment prohibits both Congress and any individual states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. Poll taxes appeared in southern states after Reconstruction as a measure to prevent blacks from voting.

The Murders of Michael Schwerner, James Cheyney, and Andrew Goodman.

June 21, 1964

These men were lynched by members of the MIssissippi KKK. They were threatened, beaten, shot and buried by the KKK members. This was because of their encouragement for blacks to vote. Their bodies were found 44 days later after an intense search.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

July 2, 1964

Outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national, and religious minorities, and women. This Act ended the unfair voter requirements, and ended the segregation in schools.

The Voting Rights Act


This Act outlawed discriminatory voting practices, and the imposition of voting qualifications or standards. Citizens could no longer be denied the right to vote based on race or color. this was intended to prevent the use of literacy tests as a qualification of voting. Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

The Assassination of Malcolm X

February 21, 1965

Malcolm X was a muslim African American minister, and was murdered in Manhattan, while speaking to the Organization of Afro-American Unity. A man in the front row of his crowd shot him in the chest, while a few others shot him repeatedly with machine guns. Not long after, he was pronounced dead.

The March on Selma, Al

March 7, 1965

Marchers set out from Montgomery Alabama, going towards the Selma Alabama. They reached the Capitol on March 25 1965 with 25000 followers. Shortly thereafter President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Race Riots in Watts Los Angeles, CA

August 11, 1965

The night’s incidents began with the arrest of an African American man being arrested for suspected intoxication while driving. Crowds began to gather and throw things at the police, and fighting broke out for six days, resulting in over thirty deaths and many more injuries. Millions of dollars in property was damaged while thousands of people looted and burned stores. By the end of the riot, over three thousand people were arrested.

The Attempted Murder of James Meredith

June 6, 1966

James Meredith was a civil Rights activists. He was the first African American student to be admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi. He was shot after beginning a lone civil rights march, the March Against Fear, through Memphis Tennessee to Jackson Mississippi, attempting to encourage voter registration in the South. She was shot the second day of his march. Other civil rights activists, arrived to keep the march going. He recovered and rejoined his march.

Formation of the Black Panthers

October 15, 1966

This party was originally called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. It was formed on October 15th, 1966, by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. It initially set forth a doctrine calling primarily for the protection of African-American neighborhoods from police brutality. It soon gained national prominence and became an icon of the counterculture of the 1960s. It reached a peak of membership in 1969, with 10,000 members. It then suffered a series of contradictions due to legal troubles, incarcerations, internal splits, expulsions, and defections. By 1972 most Panther activity centered around the national headquarters and a school in Oakland, where the party continued to influence local politics. By 1980 the Black Panther Party comprised just 27 members.

Stokely Carmichael's Black Power Speech

October 29, 1966

These men were lynched by members of the MIssissippi KKK. They were threatened, beaten, shot and buried by the KKK members. This was because of their encouragement for blacks to vote. Their bodies were found 44 days later after an intense search.

Race Riots in Newark, NJ, and Detroit Mi

July 1967

These were the two largest race riots during the summer of 1967. There were eight total riots.

The Formation of the Kerner Commission

July 28, 1967

President Lyndon Johnson created the Kerner Commission in 1967. The commission was made-up of 11 members. Its purpose was to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots (What happened and why), and to provide recommendations for the future. When the Commission’s final report was released it became a bestseller. They found the riots to be resulting from black frustration at lack of economic opportunity. Lyndon Johnson ignored these reports.

Thurgood Marshall appointed the first black Supreme Court Justice

October 2, 1967

After the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, President Johnson appointed Thurgood Marshal to the Supreme Court. The Senate responded with a 69-11 vote in the favor of Marshal, making him the first black Supreme Court Justice.

Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while standing on the balcony of his hotel room. His murderer was James Earl Ray, an escaped convict and racist, was convicted for murder. Martin Luther King Jr. had been an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement.

Passage of the Fair Housing Act

April 11, 1968

This Act prohibited discrimination in regard to the sale, rent, or financing of housing based on gender, race, religion, handicap or standing.