The Civil Rights Movement Timeline_Sridhar


Desegregation of the Military

July 26, 1948

When the United States and the rest of the world discovered the full extent of Nazi Germany's genocidal plan against Jews, white Americans became more willing to examine their own country's racism. Meanwhile, returning African-American veterans became determined to root out injustice in the United States. In this context, the desegregation of the military took place in 1948.The desegregation of the armed forces was a major civil rights victory for African Americans. The significance of this event is that though a number of whites in the military resisted and racism continued to exist within the armed forces, Executive Order 9981 was the first major blow to segregation, giving hope to African-American activists that change was possible.

Brown v Board of Education


The case is a consolidation of several different cases from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. Several black children (through their legal representatives, Ps) sought admission to public schools that required or permitted segregation based on race. The plaintiffs alleged that segregation was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In all but one case, a three-judge federal district court cited Plessy v. Ferguson in denying relief under the “separate but equal” doctrine. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs contended that segregated schools were not and could not be made equal and that they were therefore deprived of equal protection of the laws. The issue of the Supreme Court Case was the question if race-based segregation of children into “separate but equal” public schools is deemed constitutional. The significance of this Supreme Court case is the impact and role of public education in American life today. The separate but equal doctrine adopted applied to transportation, has no place in the field of public education. Separating black children from others solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The impact of segregation is greater when it has the sanction of law. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law tends to impede the educational and mental development of black children and deprives them of some of the benefits they would receive in an integrated school system.

Murder of Emmett Till

August 28, 1955

14-year old Emmett Till, an African American from Chicago, is brutally murdered for flirting with a white woman four days before. The woman’s brother and husband made Emmett carry a 75-pound cotton gin fan to the bank of Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. They beat him up close to death, took out his eyes, and shot him in the head. They then threw his body in the cotton-gin fan with barbed wire, into the river. Emmett enjoyed pulling pranks and bragged that his girlfriend was white. His companions dared him to ask the white woman behind him at the store to a date. Witnesses reported that he grabbed the white woman and was part of lewd activities with her. The significance of the event is that it brought to light the brutality of Jim Crow segregation in the South and was an early impetus of the African American civil rights movement.

Montgomery Bus Boycotts

December 5, 1955 - December 20, 1956

In these boycotts, African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery Alabama. They protested segregated seating and this event are regarded as the first large-scale demonstration against segregation in the U.S. On December 1, 1955, four days before the boycott began, Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refused to yield her seat to a white man on a Montgomery bus. She was arrested and fined largely. The boycott of public buses by blacks in this area began on the day of Parks Court hearing after she was arrested. The US Supreme Court ultimately ordered Montgomery to integrate its bus system, and one of the leaders of the boycott, a young pastor, King. The significance of these boycotts is that they caused the emergence of a new African American Civil Rights leader, who was fairly strong and who helped lead the entire movement. As a prominent national leader of the American civil rights movement in the wake of the action. These boycotts promoted nationalism within the African American community and allowed people to gather to together in unity. This movement sparked unity overall.

Little Rock Nine Crisis


The Little Rock Central High School in 1957 ensued the Little Rock Crisis. Students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, and then attended after the intervention of President Eisenhower. The Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Case, which declared an establishment of segregated schools, followed this. They held that segregated schools were deemed unconstitutional and it called for desegregation of all schools throughout the nation. After the decision, the NAACP attempted to register black student in previously all white schools in cities throughout the South. In Little Rock, the School Board agreed to comply with the high court’s ruling. They submitted the plan to be integrated in the school. The board unanimously approved and the plan would be implemented during the fall of 1957 of the school year. The selected a standard for students to receive certain grades of excellent grades and attendance. They were nicknamed Little Rock Nine, which consisted of 7 members and was the first graduation class from Central High School. The significance of the event was that it called for a Blossom Plan for all African Americans and gave them the rights that they initially deserved of equality in education. They were able to graduate successfully and were able to prosper in the future, such as Ernest Green.

Student Lunch Counter Sit-Ins (Greensboro)


The main ideas of these are that participants in non-violent protests introduced and inspire major changes. Student perseverance and involvement was instrumental in making radical changes. Coalition building between blacks and whites was an effective tool in ending segregation. Student African American leadership founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in order to get rid of the discrimination and inequality against a male-dominated white society. In 1960 four freshmen from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro walked into the F. W. Woolworth store and quietly sat down at the lunch counter. They were refused service, but they stayed until closing time. The next morning they came with twenty-five more students. On the third day, sixty-three students joined the sit-in. The students resumed their sit-ins, the city adopted more stringent segregation policies, and forty-five students were arrested and charged with trespassing. The students were so enraged by this that they launched a massive boycott of stores with segregated lunch counters. Sales dropped by a third, forcing the storeowners to relent. Six months from the very first sit-in, the four freshmen returned and were served at Woolworth’s lunch counter. This event served as another event in which African American youth protested to gain rights, and specifically rights of dining in the same areas as whites. These sit-ins were impactful.

Formation of SNCC

April 1960

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded in April 1960, by young people who had emerged as leaders of the sit-in protest movement initiated on February 1 of that year by four black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina. Although Martin Luther King, Jr. and others had hoped that SNCC would serve as the youth wing of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the students remained fiercely independent of King and SCLC, generating their own projects and strategies. Although ideological differences eventually caused SNCC and SCLC to be at odds, the two organizations worked side by side throughout the early years of the civil rights movement. 

The idea for a locally based, student-run organization was conceived when Ella Baker, a veteran civil rights organizer and an SCLC official, invited black college students who had participated in the early 1960 sit-ins to an April 1960 gathering at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Baker encouraged the more than 200 student attendees to remain autonomous, rather than affiliate with SCLC or any of the other existing civil rights groups. The significance of this committee is that they impacted society in the sense that they set youth examples on how to handle non-violent movements and stand up for Civil Rights. After the death of MLK, they had little mobility to actually be effective in their campaigning and make a difference. Most of the controversial ideas had become widely accepted by the African Americans and the group eventually disintegrated because there were not enough funds and enthusiasm to actually support the movement.

Freedom Rides

May 4, 1961

The first Freedom Ride took place on May 4, 1961 when seven blacks and six whites left Washington, D.C., on two public buses bound for the Deep South. They intended to test the Supreme Court's ruling in Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which declared segregation in interstate bus and rail stations unconstitutional. The organization CORE undertook a new tactic aimed at separating the public transportation throughout the South. In the first few days, the riders encountered only minor hostility, but in the second week the riders were severely beaten. Outside Anniston, Alabama, one of their buses was burned, and in Birmingham several dozen whites attacked the riders only two blocks from the sheriff's office. With the intervention of the U.S. Justice Department, most of CORE's Freedom Riders were evacuated from Birmingham, Alabama to New Orleans. John Lewis, a former seminary student who would later lead SNCC and become a US congressman, stayed in Birmingham. By enduring further brutality and jail terms, but generated more publicity and inspired dozens more Freedom Rides, protests has spread all across the South and the ICC ruled that prohibiting segregated facilities was not allowed. The impact of freedom rides is that it allowed the government to take a final stance on Civil Rights movements and pass laws, which finally got rid of the inequality faced during the entirety of this era.

Crisis/Violence in Birmingham


Birmingham became a focus for the civil rights movement. Birmingham, as a city, has made its mark on the civil rights movement for a number of years. Whether it was through the activities of Bull Connor or the bomber church, which killed four school girls, many Americans would have known about Birmingham by 1963. Both SNCC and the inactive in Birmingham, so civil rights campaign could be lead by SCLC without too much rivalry. Martin Luther King’s brother was also a pastor in the city so family connections helped the role of SCLC. The significance of the Crisis in the area was that it almost certainly provoked trouble and gained the movement the national outcry that would result. Any serious trouble could lead to King’s desired policy - federal intervention. Stores were desegregated; opportunities for African Americans in jobs ‘improved’ (though from what to what?) and a biracial committee were set up to improve Birmingham’s troubled community. However, the talks were wrecked by the bombing of the house that belonged to King’s brother. King’s motel room was also bombed. These outrages provoked riots among the local African-American community.

March on Washington

August 28, 1963

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963. Attended by some 250,000 people, it was the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital, and one of the first to have extensive television coverage. Dozens of additional demonstrations took place across the country, from California to New York, culminating in the March on Washington. President Kennedy backed a Civil Rights Act, which was stalled in Congress by the summer. The stated demands of the march were the passage of meaningful civil rights legislation; the elimination of racial segregation in public schools; protection for demonstrators against police brutality; a major public-works program to provide jobs; the passage of a law prohibiting racial discrimination in public and private hiring; a $2 an hour minimum wage; and self-government for the District of Columbia, which had a black majority. The significance of the March on Washington is that it unified all the movements, which African Americans wanted during the time period and unified everything together.

President Kennedy Assassination

November 22, 1963

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas' Parkland Hospital. He was 46. Vice President Johnson was sworn into Presidency and Lee Harvey was put into jail. The significance and main impact of his assassination in United States history is that American policies were no longer favored by the public. The reason for his death is hypothesized that be because certain citizens posed hatred towards his war policies during the time period with foreign affairs. JFK was assassinated because he was going to restructure the Federal Reserve System so it could no longer be used by the ruling powers to manipulate the economy.

James Meredith & University of Mississippi

June 6, 1966

James H. Meredith, who in 1962 became the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi, is shot by a sniper shortly after beginning a lone civil rights march through the South. Known as the "March Against Fear," Meredith had been walking from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, in an attempt to encourage voter registration by African Americans in the South. A former serviceman in the U.S. Air Force, Meredith applied and was accepted to the University of Mississippi in 1962, but his admission was revoked when the registrar learned of his race. On September 28, the governor was found guilty of civil contempt and was ordered to cease his interference with desegregation at the university or face arrest and a fine of $10,000 a day. Two days later, Meredith was escorted onto the Ole Miss campus by U.S. Marshals, setting off riots that resulted in the deaths of two students. Later, Meredith returned to the public eye when he began his March Against Fear. On June 6, just one day into the march, he was sent to a hospital by a sniper's bullet. James Meredith later recovered and rejoined the march he had originated, and on June 26 the marchers successfully reached Jackson, Mississippi. The significance and impact this event had on African Americans at colleges was to not let racism prevail and fight for their rights. The right thing to do was to protest for gaining rights and the ability to become recognized was very much significant.