Civil Rights in the United States

Timeline for the Civil Rights movement in the United States


Many events affected the Civil Rights Movement.

Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed "all persons held as slaves … shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free". Textbook page 529.

13th Amendment

December 18, 1865

This amendment was ratified to make slavery illegal throughout the United States. It also allowed African Americans to marry and be called Mr. or Mrs. They could legally travel without the permission of a white person. Prejudice, poverty, and discrimination continued to be a problem for African Americans. textbook p. 555

Civil Rights Act of 1866


The Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted citizenship and the same rights enjoyed by white citizens to all male persons in the United States "without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude." (excluded Native Americans and women) textbook p. 560

14th Amendment


Granted citizenship to all people born in the United States (except for Native Americans) Textbook p. 562

15th Amendment


Gave African American Men the right to vote. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison said, "this wonderful, quiet, sudden transformation of four millions of human beings from... the auction block to the ballot-box." textbook p. 562-563

Plessy v. Ferguson


Supreme Court ruling that established the "separate but equal" doctrine. This ruling allowed segregation in public schools as long as the schools were equal in quality. textbook p. 568-569

19th Amendment


The U.S. Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment, granting American women the right to vote. It was ratified by the states the following year and it became a law. November 2, 1920 was the first national election in which all women can vote. textbook p. 677

GI Bill of Rights


This bill offered veterans money for school and loans for houses, farms and businesses. textbook p.848

Executive Order #9981

July 26, 1948

President Harry Truman desegregates the United States Armed forces. textbook p. 849

The Fair Deal


President Harry Truman promoted his "Fair Deal" legislation in his 1949 State of the Union Address. It included national health insurance, expanded social security, higher minimum wage, public housing, civil rights legislation, and federal aid to education. Not all of it passed the Congress. textbook p. 850

Brown v. Board of Education

May 17, 1954

The Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools and other public facilities was illegal. The next year, the Court ordered public schools to desegregate. textbook p. 871

Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 1955

When Rosa Parks was arrested for sitting on a public bus, thousands of African Americans stopped riding the Montgomery city buses for 381 days. textbook p. 872-873

Freedom Rides

1960 - 1964

The Court ruled that segregation of bus stations was illegal. CORE organized Civil rights protestors (African Americans and whites) to ride interstate buses and use public facilities that were marked as "whites only" in segregated bus stations. textbook p. 877


February 1, 1960

Four black college students entered a segregated lunch counter in a Woolworth's in Greensboro North Carolina and sat down at the "whites only" lunch counter. They were not served but they stayed until the store closed. textbook p. 874



Four young girls die in the bombing of a church in Birmingham Alabama.

Letter from Birmingham Jail

April 16, 1963

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter to his fellow clergymen while he was in prison in Birmingham because of his work with peaceful demonstrations in that city. His letter was in response to public comments made by 8 white clergymen who condemned the peaceful protests that were taking place. textbook p. 878

Children's March

May 1963

Hundreds of school children in Montgomery Alabama marched peacefully to protest against discrimination, segregation, and unfair treatment of African Americans. They were blasted with fire hoses and attacked by police dogs. textbook p. 878

March on Washington


Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to over 200,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. He Gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. textbook p. 878



President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas Texas while waving to supporters from a convertible during a welcome parade. textbook p. 878



Three young voting rights volunteers were murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Civil Rights Act of 1964


President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this act into law. It was now illegal to segregate or discriminate against anyone on the basis of color, gender, religion, or national origin in public places or in the workplace. Textbook p. 878-879

Voting Rights Act of 1965


President Johnson signed this act into law to protect the voting rights of African Americans. textbook p.879

Equal Rights Amendment


Congress passed the the ERA to outlaw all discrimination based on gender. textbook p. 759, 883, 933

Americans with Disabilities Act


The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it possible for everyone with a disability to live a life of freedom and equality. Passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President on July 26, 1990, the ADA is the first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities. textbook p. 885


Many people affected the progress of the Civil Rights Movement

Jane Addams


She started a kindergarten and opened a settlement house in Chicago. She supported housing safety and sanitation, factory inspections, and immigrants' rights. Addams shared the Nobel Peace prize for her work with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Textbook p. 649

Eleanor Roosevelt

1946 - 1951

Eleanor Roosevelt worked for equal rights for African Americans. She served on the UN Commission on Human Rights from 1946- 1951. She helped write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She was a leading figure in movements to promote equal rights for women and minorities. textbook p. 851

Jackie Robinson

April 15, 1947

Jackie Robinson born Jan. 31st, 1919 and died Oct. 24th 1972. He was the first African American in Major League Baseball. He debuted April 15th, 1947. This was important because it began to allow African Americans to showcase their talent in professional sports. textbook p. 849

Thurgood Marshall


Marshall was an attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and helped lead the battle against public school segregation in the Brown v. Board of Education. He went on to become Supreme Court Justice. textbook p. 866, 871

Linda Brown


Linda Brown was 7 years old and wanted to go to the school near where she lived but it was an all white school and she was not allowed to go there. Linda's father sued the United States Board of Education along with the NAACP to allow Linda to attend school near her home. textbook p. 871

Orval Faubus


The governor of Arkansas blocked the Little Rock Nine from attending school at Central High School by calling out National Guard Troops. textbook p. 871

Little Rock Nine


Nine outstanding black students were told by the school board of Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas that they could attend the all white school. On the day they tried to enter the school, they were blocked by National Guard troops sent there by Governor Faubus. The students were screamed at and threatened. textbook p. 871-872

Martin Luther King Jr.


26-year-old Baptist minister with a reputation as a powerful speaker who was able to inspire and motivate people to peaceful protest against discrimination. textbook p. 875

Rosa Parks

December 1, 1955

Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. The bus driver called the police and Rosa was arrested. Her bravery inspired a bus boycott that lasted for 381 days and advanced the battle against discrimination. textbook p. 872-873

Malcolm X


Malcolm X inspired the Black Power Movement. He was a leader of a group called the Nation of Islam. He promoted African American independence and believed in using violence if necessary. He was later murdered by 3 members of the Nation of Islam. textbook p. 880, 881

John F. Kennedy

1960 - 1963

Elected President of the United States. In his campaign, Kennedy spoke boldly of his support for the Civil Rights Movement. Many African Americans voted for him but once he was in office, very little changed. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. textbook p. 876, 878

Cesar Chavez


Cesar Chavez grew up as a migrant farm worker. He organized the United Farm Workers to improve pay and conditions for migrant farm workers in the United States. He was committed to nonviolent protest. textbook p. 882-883

Betty Friedan


Became the leader of the modern women's rights movement. textbook p. 883, 884

Lyndon B. Johnson


Sworn in as President of the United States immediately after Kennedy was assassinated. textbook p. 878, 879

Shirley Chisholm


First African American woman to be elected to represent a New York City district in the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. textbook p. 883, 884


Many organizations impacted the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.


December 1865

KKK established. The Ku Klux Klan was a secret organization of White Anglo Saxon Protestant men who promoted white supremacy and committed hate crimes against minorities of color or non-protestant faiths. textbook p. 566

Knights of Labor


The first National Labor Union was founded to protect workers in factories and industries. It pushed for an 8 hour workday, equal pay for equal work, and an end to child labor. textbook p. 625

American Federation of Labor (AFL)

December 1886

An early Labor Union that organized and represented skilled workers in many industries. textbook page 625-626



The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded by W. E. B. Du Bois in 1909 to promote and protect personal, educational, and political rights for African Americans. textbook p. 678

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom


The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom was founded in 1915 during World War I, with Jane Addams as its first president. WILPF works to achieve through peaceful means world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence, and to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all. Textbook p. 649



Congress for Racial Equality was a civil rights group formed to promote racial equality in the United States. textbook p. 877-878



Montgomery Improvement Association was formed to organize the boycott of Montgomery buses after Rosa Parks was arrested. They recruited Martin Luther King Jr. to help them. textbook p. 873



Martin Luther King Jr. formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to lead campaigns for civil rights throughout the South. textbook p. 873



Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was formed to train protesters and organize civil rights demonstrations. textbook p. 874, 878



United Farm Workers - a nonviolent protest organization founded by Cesar Chavez to improve pay and conditions for migrant farm workers. textbook p. 882



National Organization for Women founded by Betty Friedan to fight for equal educational and career opportunities for women. textbook p. 867, 883



National Congress of American Indians helped win passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. textbook p. 884

La Raza Unida


This organization was organized to support the rights of Mexican Americans.Textbook p. 883



Disabled in Action was created to make people aware of the challenges facing people with disabilities and to promote legislation that would protect them from discrimination. textbook p. 885