Civil Rights Timeline

African Americans

Emancipation Proclaimation

September 22, 1862

Declared all slaves that currently lived in Confederate states during the Civil War as permanently free. Was not a law passed, but an order by the executive branch, citing Abraham Lincoln's power as commander in chief. A long term effect was that the Civil War now involved the rights of black slaves. (N,E,I)

13th Amendment Ratified

December 18, 1865

The 13th Amendment officially ended slavery in America. Was a continuation of the Emancipation Proclamation. Discrimination against blacks continued as Jim Crow and segregation laws. (N, L, E)

The 14th Amendment

July 9, 1868

Mandated that all people born in the United States were citizens and had civil rights. Included the Due Process and Equal Protection clause. Overturned the Dred Scott decision which implicated that African Americans could not be citizens of the U.S. (N,L,E)

Jackie Robinson plays for Dodgers

April 15, 1947

Broke the color barrier for sports - black people had to play in "negro leagues" for six decades before Robinson started as a first baseman in 1947. (O,I)

Executive Order 9981

July 26, 1948

Passed by Woodrow Wilson, abolished racial discrimination in the Armed Forces. Led to end of segregation in the federal services. (N, E, I)

Brown v. Board of Education

May 17, 1954

Landmark Supreme Court case that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson. Established that "separate facilities are inherently unequal." Put judicial teeth to ending segregation. (N, J)

Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 1, 1955

Began when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on public transportation. She became one of the symbols of the civil rights movement when segregated buses became unconstitutional in the ensuing Browder v. Gayle. (N, C, J, I, O)

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

August 28, 1963

One of the largest political civil rights rallies in history. Advocated for the betterment of African American economic situations and civil rights. Here MLK made his iconic "I have a dream" speech - the rally helped pass the civil rights act of 1964. (C, O, I)

Civil Rights Act of 1964`

July 2, 1964

Landmark legislation that outlawed forms of discrimination such as voter race laws, segregation in schools, and segregation in public facilities. Was initially a weak piece of legislation, but eventually gained serious power with time. (N, E, L, I)

Barack Obama becomes president

January 20, 2009

Barack Obama of the Democratic Party is the first African American to become president of the U.S. Highest government position filled by a minority for the first time. (N, E, I)

Native Americans

The 15th Amendment

March 30, 1870

The 15th amendment recognized the right of all naturalized men to vote. This included citizens of Native Indian decent. (N, L)

Winters v. United States


A court ruling prevented a white settler from damming a river and diverting water from an Indian reservation. Established that Indians had federally reserved and protected water rights. (N, J)

Indian Citizenship Act


A congressional act that made all American Indians U.S. citizens. Some Indians however only wanted to maintain tribal membership. (N, L)

Indian Civil Rights Act


A congressional act that required states to obtain tribal consent prior to extending legal jurisdiction over an Indian reservation. Gave most protections in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment to Tribal members in dealings with their tribal governments.

Seminole Tribe v. Butterworth


The tribes have the right to establish gambling enterprises on their land even if it is prohibited by state statues. Gave tribes greater authority in levying their own taxes, assets, and creating judiciaries. (N, J)