The Music of the Movement: A Civil Rights Timeline

  • Eubie Blake's "Shuffle Along" premiers on Broadway

    Eubie Blake's "Shuffle Along" premiers on Broadway
    Eubie Blake, composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music, and long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote the Broadway musical "Shuffle Along" one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African Americans.
  • Jesse Owens: World's Fastest Man

    Jesse Owens: World's Fastest Man
    Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany and was nicknamed "the World’s Fastest Man."
  • Adam Clayton Powell

    Adam Clayton Powell
    Powell was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 22nd congressional district, which included Harlem. He was the first black Congressman from New York and the first from any Northern state other than Illinois in the Post-Reconstruction Era.
  • Jackie Robinson joins the Dodgers

    Jackie Robinson joins the Dodgers
    Jackie Robinson became the first African-American baseball player to play on a major league team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • President Truman signs Executive Order #9981

    President Truman signs Executive Order #9981
    It oders equality of treatment and persons in the armed services.
  • Supreme Court rules on Brown v. Board of Education

    Supreme Court rules on Brown v. Board of Education
    Segregation is ruled unconstitutional in public schools. It is a victory for NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall, who will later return to the Supreme Court as the nation's first black justice.
  • Rosa Parks decides to remain sitting

    Rosa Parks decides to remain sitting
    Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger, defying a Southern custom of the time. Her arrest lead to a community-wide bus boycot , which lasted more than a year, until the busses were desegregated Dec. 21, 1956.
  • Althea Gibson

    Althea Gibson
    Althea Gibson, the first African-American woman tennis player to play in the US Nationals, won the US Nationals and Wimbledon and was welcomed home with a ticker tape parade in New York.
  • Little Rock Nine

    Little Rock Nine
    All-white Central High School is desegregated in Little Rock. Nine black students are blocked from entering the high school, so President Eisenhower sends federal troops and the National Guard to intervene on behalf of the "Little Rock Nine."
  • The Supremes debut in Detroit

    The Supremes debut in Detroit
    The Supremes, originally founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan were the most commercially successful of Motown's acts and are, to date, America's most successful vocal group with 12 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. At their peak in the mid-1960s, The Supremes rivaled The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their success made it possible for future African-American R&B and soul musicians to find mainstream success.
  • The Woolworth's Sit-in

    The Woolworth's Sit-in
    Four black college students from Greensboro, N.C. begin a sit-in at the segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. This event triggers similar sit-ins throughout the South. Six months later, those students were served at the same Woolworth's counter.
  • SNCC is founded

    SNCC is founded
    The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded at Shaw Univerity, providing young black people with a place in the Civil Rights movement.
  • Freedom Riders

    Freedom Riders
    Over 1,000 student volunteers (both black and white) take bus trips through the South to test out new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities, which includes bus and railway stations. Several of the groups of "freedom riders" are attacked by angry mobs along the way.
  • Images of brutality in Birmingham

    Images of brutality in Birmingham
    During protests in Birmingham, Commissioner of Public Saftey Eugene "Bull" Connor uses fire hoses and police dogs on black demonstrators. These images of brutality, which are televised and published widely, are instrumental in gaining sympathy for the Civil Rights movement around the world.
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    About 200,000 people join the March on Washington. This is where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • The bombing of the Sixteenth Baptist Church

    The bombing of the Sixteenth Baptist Church
    Four young girls are killed when a bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Baptist Church in Birmingham, a popular location place for Civil Rights meetings. The girls were attending Sunday school.
  • Malcom X is assassinated

    Malcom X is assassinated
    Malcom X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is shot.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The Act prohibits descrimintation of all kinds based on race, color, religion or national origin. It also provides the federal government with the power to enforce desegregation.
  • Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday
    Fifty marchers are hospitalized in Selma, AL after police use tear gas, whips and clubs against them. The incident is dubbed "Bloody Sunday" by the media. The march is considered the catalyst for pushing though the Voting Right s Act five months later.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965 making it easier for Southern blacks to to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes and other such requirements that were used to restrict blacks are made illegal.
  • Watts Riots

    Watts Riots
    Riots break out in a black section of L.A. The riots last from Aug. 11 to Aug. 17, 1965.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated

    Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated
    Martin Luther King, Jr. at the age of 39, is shot and killed on the balcony outside his hotel room in Memphis. Escaped convict and committed racist James Earl Ray is convicted of the crime.
  • Thurgood Marshall

    Thurgood Marshall
    Thurgood Marshall was an American jurist and the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Before becoming a judge, he was a lawyer who was best remembered for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education. He was nominated to the court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1968

    Civil Rights Act of 1968
    President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibiting descrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing.
  • Diane Carroll

    Diane Carroll
    Carroll is best known for her title role in the 1968 television series Julia, which made her the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1969, and won the Golden Globe Award for "Best Actress In A Television Series” in 1968
  • Shirley Chisholm

    Shirley Chisholm
    Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress, representing New York's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983.
  • Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

    Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
    The Supreme Court, in "Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education," upholds busing as a legitimate means for achieving integrationof public schools. Court-ordered busing plans in cities such as Charlotte, Boston and Denver continue until the late 1990s.
  • Soul Train debuts

    Soul Train debuts
    Soul Train, the first black-oriented music variety show ever offered on American television, is one of the most successful weekly programs marketed in first run syndication and one of the longest running syndicated programs in American television history.
  • Barbara Jordan

    Barbara Jordan
    Barbara Jordan from Texas was elected to the United States House of Representatives becoming the first black woman from a Southern state to serve in the House.
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock

    Sweet Honey in the Rock
    Sweet Honey in the Rock, the all female African-American a cappella singing group, is founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon.
  • Michael Jasckon's "Thriller" smashes records

    Michael Jasckon's "Thriller" smashes records
    Michael Jackson's album "Thriller " remains the best-selling album of all time. Thriller cemented Jackson's status as one of the preeminent pop stars of the late 20th century and enabled him to break down racial barriers via his appearances on MTV and meetings with President Ronald Reagan at the White House.
  • The Oprah Winfrey show

    The Oprah Winfrey show
    Oprah Winfrey is the first black woman to host a nationally syndicated TV talk show. The show will go on to be the longest-running daytime talk show.
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988

    Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988
    Overridding President Reagan's veto, Congress passes the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which expands the reach of non-descrimination laws within private institutions receiveing federal funds.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991

    Civil Rights Act of 1991
    After two years of debates, vetoes and threatened vetoes, President Bush reverses himself and signs the Civil Rights Act of 1991, strengthening existing Civil Rights laws and providing for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.
  • Riots in LA after Rodney King is beaten

    Riots in LA after Rodney King is beaten
    The first race riots in decades erupt in south-central Los Angeles after a jury acquits four white police officers for the videotapped beating of Rodney King.
  • Condoleezza Rice

    Condoleezza Rice
    Ms. Rice was the first African-American woman secretary of state.
  • Civil Rights Act of 2008

    Civil Rights Act of 2008
    Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduces the Civil Rights Act of 2008. Some of the proposed provisions include ensuring that federal funds are not used to subsidize discrimination and holding employers accountable for age discrimination.
  • Barack Obama becomes the nation's first black president

    Barack Obama becomes the nation's first black president
    Barack Obama is the first African American to hold the office. Before that he worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
  • Music of the Movement: A Sustaining Voice

    Music of the Movement: A Sustaining Voice
    This event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Montgomery College, Takoma Park/Silver Springs, MD.