Civil Rights

Timeline created by AUDREYYTG
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford

    Dred Scott v. Sanford
    This case marked a landmark case for civil rights as it established that they did not apply to African Americans. It ruled that citizenship and the other civil rights exercised by American citizens should not apply to African Americans. In the case, a previous slave resided in the Louisiana Territory, in which slavery was forbidden, and then claimed he was a free man when he moved back to Missouri, the state in which he was enslaved originally.
  • 13th Amendment Ratified

    13th Amendment Ratified
    The 13th Amendment essentially abolished slavery. There were 2 sections to this amendment. The first section says that slavery or involuntary servitude, unless it is used as a conviction or punishment for a crime, is not allowed in the U.S. or any place under its control. This somewhat overturned the Dred Scott case, but the 14th Amendment is what really overturned the idea that African Americans were not protected U.S. citizens.
  • 14th Amendment Ratification

    14th Amendment Ratification
    This officially granted citizenship to African Americans, also granting them civil liberties exercised by American citizens because it states that all people born in the U.S. should be classified as U.S. citizens. This really overturned the Dred Scott case as it goes completely against the ruling. This amendment is also key due to the clause that states the protection of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". This clause allowed incorporation of the Bill of Rights at a state level.
  • 15th Amendment Ratification

    15th Amendment Ratification
    The 15th amendment essentially prohibits the ability for a state or federal government from preventing someone of a particular race, color, or ethnicity from voting (suffrage). This, however, did not extend to women until much later. The need for this amendment came about after the South's unwillingness to cooperate with conditions after the conclusion of the Civil War. The South created many ways to prevent African Americans from voting or having rights like literacy tests.
  • Plessy vs. Ferguson

    Plessy vs. Ferguson
    In this landmark Supreme Court case, the court analyzed a Louisiana law called the Separate Car Act, in which African Americans had separate train cars as white people. Plessy, considered 'black' under Louisiana law, refused to leave the 'whotes only' car and was arrested. The court ruled that it was unconstitutional, but maintained that separate cars did not mean African Americans were inferior as the cars are of the same quality.
  • 19th Amendment Ratification

    19th Amendment Ratification
    This amendment finally granted women suffrage. The amendment states that the right to vote shall not be taken away on the basis of sex. The amendment was a response to a long-building women's suffrage movement, heightened at the time. The National American Woman Suffrage Association and other groups fought and protested to get this right by filing lawsuits and trying to vote at polls. There was even a Supreme Court case Minor v. Happersett, which ruled against women's suffrage in 1875.
  • Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka

    Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka
    This landmark Supreme Court case tackled a combination of cases occurring at the time regarding segregation in schools. It was argued that this segregation violated the Equal Protection clause and it reached the Supreme Court as plaintiffs appeals lower court decisions because they decided based on the precedent set by Plessy vs. Ferguson. The court declared that 'separate but equal facilities are inherently unequal' and instilled inferiority, this was a unanimous decision.
  • 24th Amendment Ratification

    24th Amendment Ratification
    The 24th amendment basically attacks poll taxes. Section 1 states that no person can be denied the right to vote just because they fail to pay a poll tax. The second section gives Congress the right to create the appropriate legislation to carry this out. Poll taxes were another way of discriminating against African American voters, but after the 15th amendment was passed it applied to white voters too. As time went on, poll taxes discriminated by class and kept the poor from voting.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    This Act attempted to end segregation and discrimination against African Americans. In the act, it states that discrimination based on sex, color, nationality, or religion is illegal. This Act wanted to end the discrimination in schools, jobs, and in public arenas like buses, restaurants, bathrooms, etc. This Act being signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson was a big accomplishment for civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and was the landmark legislation of the movement at the time.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    This Act made the enforcement of the 15th amendment stronger and outlawed discriminatory voting practices often used in the South, similar to after the 15th amendment was ratified. The protests and violence spurred by these at the time caused Lyndon B. Johnson to sign this Act attacking the states' use of Jim Crow laws, literacy tests, and poll taxes as a way to keep African Americans from voting. This Act created enormous amounts of new African American voters.
  • Reed vs. Reed

    Reed vs. Reed
    This Supreme Court case analyzed an Idaho law stating that 'males were to be preferred over females' when choosing administrators to estates. A husband and wife wished to take ownership of their dead son's estate, but only the husband was granted that ownership. The court unanimously voted this Idaho Law unconstitutional as it violates the equal protection cause and is a form of discrimination solely based on sex.
  • Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke

    Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke
    This case tackled medical school acceptance in relation to minorities. Bakke applied to the medical school twice and was rejected both times. He attributed that to the fact that the school reserves spots for minorities to make up for the lack of minorities in the field. Bakke was better qualified than all the minority students and appealed to the court that he was discriminated against based on his 'majority' race. The judges' majority said the quota violated civil rights acts.
  • Equal Rights Amendment

    Equal Rights Amendment
    This amendment ensured more protection against discrimination, but it finally included women. It states that equal legal rights are given to all American citizens regardless of sex. It sought to close the gap in rights granted to men and women in terms of property, jobs, divorce, etc. This was the final legislation pushed for by the women's rights movements as it established equality between men and women, though it struggled getting ratified by each of the states.
  • Bowers vs. Hardwick

    Bowers vs. Hardwick
    This case involved a police man who saw two men have sexual intercourse and this violated Georgia law. The men held that this law was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court actually ruled against the men because they were engaging in sodomy, which is not constitutionally protected. This decision was later overturned in the Lawrence vs. Texas case, a very similar one to this one, in 2003 when homosexuality was more accepted.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    Americans with Disabilities Act
    The ADA is a law created to prevent discrimination based on the fact that an American has disabilities 'in all areas of public life' such as for jobs, in school, etc. The qualification of 'disability' for this Act is that one must have one or a relationship/association with someone with a disability. It also states that accommodations must be made for handicap people so that they may have the same access to public things like others do.
  • Lawrence vs. Texas

    Lawrence vs. Texas
    In this Supreme Court case, police came inside a home to see a man having sexual relations with another man. The men were convicted and arrested because Texas had then had a law preventing some same-sex sexual conduct. The court ruled 6-3 in favor of the men because they found the law against this sexual conduct violated the Due Process clause. It also violated the equal protection clause as the men were criminalized for having the same sexual conduct heterosexual couples are allowed.
  • Obergefell vs. Hodges

    Obergefell vs. Hodges
    This landmark Supreme Court case's decision made same-sex marriage legal. It came about from same-sex couples suing their states for making their marriages illegal, or not recognizing legal same-sex marriages occurring in states where they were allowed. The Supreme Court declared that this violated the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment as well as the Equal Protection clause. They ruled a 5-4 decision, granting equal rights to same-sex couples and making their marriage legal in the nation.
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    Civil Rights

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    Poll Taxes

    Poll taxes are essentially a fee to be paid for voting. They required people to pay that fee before they could cast their vote. These taxes came about as a way for people to discriminate against voters and prevent some from voting. Poll taxes were mainly enacted following the ratification of the 15th amendment as a way of fighting back the suffrage given to African Americans. These taxes were then explicitly outlawed in 1964 with the ratification of the 24th amendment.
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    White Primaries

    White primaries were essentially a way for white Democrats to prevent African Americans from voting. They were primaries where only white people were permitted to vote. They first began in 1896 in South Carolina. White Primaries came to an end as a result of a landmark Supreme Court case called Smith v. Allwright in which Texas state law for white primaries was found unconstitutional.
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    Affirmative Action

    This concept was first introduced in 1961 by President Kennedy. It included a set of guidelines, policies, etc. to slowly end the discrimination but not on a legislative front. President Johnson also enforced this concept during his time in office stating that it is important not to just say that people are equal but to act on it so that a result can be seen. Now, 9 states have banned affirmative action programs and guidelines in various recent years, the most recent being OK in 2012.