US Civil Rights Timeline

Main

Emancipation Proclamation

1862

13th Amendment

1865

14th Amendment

1868

15th Amendment

1870

Plessy V Ferguson

1896

Homer Plessy deliberately sat in an all-white carriage on a train and was arrested. When he appealed to the Supreme Court they ruled it was legal as long as the facilities were the same. The start of "seperate but equal"

NAACP found

1909

Nation of Islam found

1930

FEPC established

1941

Roosevelt establishes Fair Employment Practices Commission to force war industries to not discriminate on the grounds of 'race,creed colour or national origin' when employing.

CORE established

1942

William L. Dawson elected to Congress

1943

Detroit Riots

1943

due to increasing population of blacks in Detroit- b v w
lack of housing etc
fight for employment

Smith v Allwright

1944

Lonnie E. Smith, a black voter sued an election official for the right to vote in a primary election, supported by the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall represented him and the Supreme Court ruled in his favour.

Roosevelt re-elected

1944

Adam Clayton Powell elected to the US Congress

1945

Truman becomes President

1945

Morgan v Virginia

1946

Irene Morgan was arrested for refusing to sit in a segregated section of an interstate bus although the interstate transportation was supposed to be desegregated it enforced segregation within Virginia's borders, Thurgood Marshal was her co-counselor, the Supreme Court ruled in her favour saying enforcing segregation on interstate buses was illegal.

The President's Committee on Civil Rights

1946

to investigate racial problems in America
"To Secure These Rights' report 1947 by committee suggesting radical changes to solve these problems

Executive orders made

1946

9980- guaranteeing fair employment practices in the civil service
10308- established the Committee on Government Contract Compliance
prevented Federal Housing Administration from lending money to segregated housing projects
Fair Deal programme- building houses in urban areas for African Americans

Journey of Reconciliation organised by CORE

1947

Morgan v Virginia was a de jure change.
16 CORE activists (8 black and 8 white) planned to travel by bus from northern states to southern and draw public attention that many bus companies were still ignoring the ruling
9 April 1947 - lasted for two weeks. sat in opposite colour areas.
successfully proved that southern states were ignoring the Supreme Court rulings.
resulted in 12 CORE members arrested and violent white backlash.
failed to force southern states such as North Carolina to desegregate

NAACP boycott of New Orleans department stores

1947

picketed the stores for refusing to allow black customers

Truman re-elected

1948

Discrimination in the armed forces was banned

1948

Shelley v Kraemer

1948

NAACP and Truman supported stopping rules restricting blacks from buying houses in white areas, the Supreme Court ruled in their favour, however the ruling was only de facto and proved ineffective.

William Haist appointed a federal judge

1949

Sweatt v Painter

1950

successfully challenged "seperate but equal", Herman Marion Sweatt was refused admission to the School of Law of the University of Texas, the case was delayed allowing time to create a "seperate" black law school, Sweatt was represented by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP, they pointed out the inequality between the 2 schools as they lacked teachers, books and resources.

NAACP protest over school closures in Louisiana

1951

The first year since 1881 without a lynching

1952

Malcolm X released from prison and joins Nation of Islam

1952

NAACP boycott a segregated school in Lafayette

1953

the school inferior to the local white school

Baton Rouge bus boycott organised by UDL

1953

United Defence League organised a week long bus boycott in Baton Rouge (Louisiana's capital) in June 1953.
accompanied by carpooling 'operation free-lift' transported blacks around the city in 100 private cars
failed to desegregate the buses as it was too short to attract media attention or to hurt the finances
but set example and gave ideas for future eg Montgomery

White Citizens' Council formed

1954

The last all-black units in the armed forces were disbanded

1954

Brown v Board

1954

Linda Brown had to walk 20 blocks to attend an all black school as opposed to the much closer white school, he father Oliver Brown supported by the NAACP and Thurgood Marshall took the case to the Supreme Court who ended "seperate but equal", black reaction= increase in local activism, white reaction= signing of the Southern Manifesto to reject ruling, significance= symbolic, Chief Justice Earl Warren was highly sympathetic, but by 1957 mainly de jure change only.

Emmett Till lynched

1955

MIA established under MLK

1955

Brown II

1955

Due to little de facto change of Brown, NAACP asked Supreme Court to establish a timetable for desegregation, not much action, no-one pleased= NAACP thought too vague, Southern racists saw as another attack on way of life

Beginning of MLK

1955

Browder v Gayle

1956

Due to Montgomery Bus Boycott not changing desegregation laws, supreme court rule segregation of buses was illegal after Amelia Browder was arrested for refusing to give up her seat, supported by the NAACP

Southern Manifesto signed

1956

NAACP banned in Alabama

1956

Little Rock

1957

Local governor Orval Faubus ordered National Guard to prevent children entering -> 3/09/1957 white mob and national guard refused to let the students through
Due to Mayor's request, media attention and public's disobedience to court ruling, Eisenhower ordered Faubus to remove National Guard and US Dept of Justice gained a court injunction forcing the National Guard to withdraw. White mob still refused to let students through. Eisenhower forced to take NG under Presidential control, and on 25/09 students enrolled, escorted by NG.
Faubus passes law to close local schools -> 400 students forced to enrol elsewhere.
Cooper V Aaron
1959 Little Rock reopened.

Civil Rights Act passed

1957

MLK became President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

1957

Cooper v Aaron

1958

Supreme Court saying states were bound by Court's decisions and had to enforce them even if the states disagreed with them, (aftermath and reaction of Little Rock)

SNCC formed

1960

separatism

1960

Elijah Muhammad called for the creation of a separate state for blacks

Greensboro sit in begins

1960

First student sit-ins against segregation at lunch counters occur at Greensboro

Boynton v Virginia

1960

segregation of the interstate bus services illegal

Freedom Rides in South by CORE

1961

Meredith and U of Mississippi

1962

James Meredith’s attempt to attend Mississippi University was only successful as a result of Federal troops being used

Birmingham Campaign

1963

March on Washington

1963

'Bombingham'

1963

Four black children were killed in the Birmingham church bombing – the arrested white man was charged with unlawful possession of dynamite but not murder. Only some years later were the guilty brought to trial for murder

Mississippi Freedom Summer

1964

organised by CORE, SNCC and NAACP
improve voting registration
white violent backlash

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party found

1964

Riots in Harlem (New York), Chicago, Rochester and Philadelphia

1964

Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress

1964

MLK awarded Nobel Peace Prize

1964

Malcolm X leaves Nation of Islam and forms OOAU

1964

Selma Campaign

1965

mostly a failure
created division in the civil rights movement
more criticism towards MLK
support for Black Power grew

Malcolm X assassinated

1965

Voting Rights Act

1965

Voting Rights Act was passed which in theory made it illegal for anyone to restrict the right of anybody to vote

Watts Riots, Los Angeles, left 34 dead

1965

The Moynihan Report

1965

LBJ commissioned for report as evidence to improve de facto problems in North
backfired as report blamed black people for violence etc

The idea of Black Power was introduced by Stokely Carmichael

1966

Meredith March

1966

Chicago Freedom Movement led by Martin Luther King

1966

showed that MLK misunderstood conditions up North
peaceful protest did not work for de facto problems

Black Panther Party founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale

1966

Inter-racial marriage

1967

State laws forbidding inter-racial marriage were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court

Thurgood Marshall Supreme Court

1967

Thurgood Marshall became the first Black American to be appointed to the Supreme Court by Lyndon Johnson

Daniel v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

1968

Jane Daniel convicted of robbery received a longer sentence than a man would have been given, won her case

The Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike

1968

Another attempt by MLK that failed

Poor People’s Campaign

1968

Mexico Olympics

1968

At the Mexico Olympics, a Black Power protest was made at the medal ceremony for the men’s 400 metres by Tommy Smith and John Carlos

Black Panthers social programmes launched

1968

MLK assassinated

04/04/1968

symbol of end of civil rights movement

Weeks v Southern Bell

1969

Lorena Weeks took her employers Southern Bell to court after they promoted a less qualified man over her, won case, job and $31,000 in back pay = set precedent for women to challenge sexism in the workplace

Detailed

Reconstruction

1865 - 1877

Republican Party
13th, 14th and 15th Amendments- abolished slavery, equal citizenship rights, forbade denial of the right to vote based on race

Jim Crow laws passed

1890 - 1910

Great Migration

1914 - 1918

Black Americans moved up north to industrial cities such as Chicago and Detroit to work in war industries

Second migration

1920 - 1928

Further 500,000 moved north during the economic boom following WW1

CNO voter registration campaign in Arkansas

1940 - 1957

Committee on Negro Organisation- increased the black voter registration from 1.5% in 1940 to 17.3% in 1947.

Another boom

1940 - 1950

1/4 of Black American living in North, concentrated in industrial cities, Philadelphia, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago and New York. By 1950- 1/3 BA's in North

Montgomery Bus Boycott

1955 - 1956

Albany Movement

1961 - 1962

Failed due to local Police Chief Laurie Pritchett's tactics
knew what MLK's strategy and prevented the campaign getting media attention.