Civil Rights Movement

AP History Mr. Romig Block: 1


The Sit- Ins


A nonviolent “civil disobedience” used especially by African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. It involved just taking up space somewhere by getting a group together and just sitting. These protests did play a large role in the eventual passing of the Civil Rights Act.

Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, KS

May 17, 1954

When Oliver Brown’s attempt to register his daughter in a white school, closer to their home, was denied he went to the NAACP and asked for help. The case was taken to the Supreme Court and it was ruled unconstitutional to have separate schools for black and white students.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott

Dec. 1, 1955 - Dec. 20, 1956

The blacks of Montgomery, Alabama decided to boycott public buses to protest segregation on buses. This was sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat to a white person. Martin Luther King Jr was also a big player in this boycott.

The Establishment of SCLC

Jan. 10, 1957

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed in 1957 to advance the civil rights movement in a non-violent manner. Martin Luther King Jr. was the president of this conference until his death.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957

Sept. 9, 1957

This was primarily a voting rights bill, which tried to ensure that African Americans could effectively vote without some of the cumbersome and racist regulation rules.

Central High School in Little Rock, AR

Sept. 23, 1957

A high school in Arizona, it refused to let nine African American students into the high school, against the law. When they were made to be allowed in, violence followed, and eventually the nine had to be escorted by the 101st Airborne Battle Group.

The Establishment of SNCC

April 1960

A student civil rights organization started at Shaw University by Ella Baker, it aimed to improve rights for African Americans and participated in such events as Freedom Summer and sit-ins.

The Freedom Rides

May 4, 1961

After the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for buses to be segregated, a group of seven blacks and six whites decided to test this ruling to see if it would be enforced. They got on buses going throughout the South with the whites riding in the back and the blacks in the front. They were given many problems throughout the ride, but they did not give up and encouraged many others to do freedom rides in other transportation areas such as train stations and airports.

Federal Transportation Commission Desegregates Interstate Transportation

Sept. 22, 1961

The Interstate Commerce Commission ordered an end to segregation on interstate transportation and within transportation facilities. The new rules prohibited segregation. This was passed in part due to the determination of Robert Kennedy.

Ole Miss is forced to admit James Meredith

Oct. 1, 1962

James Meredith applied to the University of Mississippi several times, and was denied entry because of his race. The case went to court (eventually the Supreme Court) until it was ruled that “Ole Miss” must admit Meredith, as his records were just short of stellar.

Demonstrations in Birmingham, AL


Where Fred Shuttlesworth and Martin Luther King Jr. headed massive sit-ins, marches, etc. to spark Bull Connor into action to draw national attention, which it did. The protesters endured fire hoses, police dogs, and other attacks while demonstrating, but eventually helped their cause gain momentum.

The Assassination of Medgar Evers

June 12, 1963

In the early hours of the morning, Evers was shot in the back of the head after arriving home from a NAACP meeting. The killer, Byron De La Beckwith, was convicted only in 1994 due to previous scarcity of evidence.

The March on Washington

Aug. 28, 1963

This march for jobs and freedom was a large political rally with 200,000 to 300,000 people. This is where Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Fannie Lou Hamer's MDFP Speech


Fannie Lou was an African American activist, famous for her singing of hymns at protests and her gift with words. She was invited to the Democratic National Convention to seek out the Credentials Committee so that blacks may actually be able to register as voters. When disallowed, she gave a speech that was later televised uncensored; support poured in for the Freedom Democrats.

Ratification of the 24th Amendment

Jan. 23, 1964

This was proposed by Congress, and passed the states, although Mississippi rejected it and several others failed to ratify it. It disallowed Congress or the States from “conditioning the right to vote in federal elections” on payment of any type of tax.

Freedom Summer

June 1964

A sudden, strong attempt to register as many African Americans to vote as possible in the state of Mississippi and created community centers to aid the black population.

The Murders of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman

June 21, 1964

Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman were lynched in Mississippi by members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Sheriff office. They were intimidated, beaten, shot and buried. They were found 44 days later.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

July 2, 1964

This act outlawed discrimination because of a person’s race, ethnicity, religion, or sex. This ended racial segregation in work, school, voting, and public facilities.

Race Riots in Watts, Los Angeles, CA


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 Assassination of Malcolm X

Feb. 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 much later, he was pronounced dead.

The March on Selma, AL

March 1965

There were three attempts to march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. The first time they were beaten back, the second time was a symbolic march, and the third time they made the full march with the support of the court.

The Voting Rights Act

Aug. 6, 1965

This act was put into place to enforce the fifteenth amendment, outlawing discriminatory voting practices such as requiring a literacy test to vote.

Attempted Murder of James Meredith

June 6, 1966

James Meredith had been marching through the South to encourage voting registration to the blacks in his “March Against Fear”. However, on the second day of his march he was shot by a sniper and hospitalized, but not killed.

Formation of the Black Panthers

Oct. 15, 1966

This party was formed in 1966, and consisted of socialist African Americans with their initial goal to stop police brutality to black citizens. Their membership spread, and they started “survival programs” that provided free services, self-defense lessons, etc.

Stokely Carmichael's Black Power

Oct. 29, 1966

After James Meredith was shot, Carmichael questioned the effectiveness of nonviolent protests. He believed that ‘Black Power’ was necessary. He was a good speaker and his speech gained many followers to his idea of ‘Black Power’.

Race Riots Newark, NJ

July 12, 1967 - July 17, 1967

This riot was started because two white policemen arrested and beat a black cab driver for improperly passing them. This sparked a six day riot in which 26 people were killed and over a thousand were injured.

Formation of Kerner Commission

July 18, 1967

President Johnson created a commission in response to the large number of riots. He wanted to know exactly what happened, why it happened, and how it could be prevented. The Kerner report pinpointed black frustration at the lack of economic opportunity as the cause and suggested that the government and other whites help improve economic opportunities for the blacks. The President ignored the suggestions.

Race Riots Detroit, MI

July 23, 1967 - July 27, 1967

This riot began when white police officers raided an unlicensed after-hours bar and attempted to arrest everyone on sight. This led to a five day riot where 43 were killed and many more were injured.

First Black Supreme Court Justice

Aug. 30, 1967

Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall to the Supreme Court after the retirement of Justice Tom Clark. This was confirmed by the Senate with a 69-11 vote.

Passage of Fair Housings Act

April 1968

This act prohibited discrimination because of race, religion, ethnicity, or sex in the sale, rental, or financing of houses. It was quickly passed in the House of Representatives after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 1968

MLK was giving his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech the day before, and at 6:01 PM, while standing on his balcony, he was shot. He officially died after attempted surgery at 7:05.