Civil Rights

Timeline created by hannahandmorgan
  • Dred Scott v Sanford

    Dred Scott v Sanford
    Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri, but lived in Illinois/the Louisiana Territory from 1833-1843. Illinois was a free state and slavery was prohibited in the LA Territory, so when Scott moved back to MO, he claimed he should be free. He filed suit with the Missouri court and lost, then filed suit federally. The final decision was that slaves couldn't be citizens & former slaves couldn't be protected by the Constitution. Congress couldn't ban slavery in territories, encouraging racial inequality.
  • 13th Amendment

    13th Amendment
    The 13th Amendment was ratified after the Civil War. It forbade slavery and involuntary servitude. This was in response to a long standing tradition of slavery in the United States, especially in the South. The abolishing of slavery marked the first big step in reaching racial equality. Although segregation would continue to be an issue, the 13th amendment was a step in the right direction.
  • 14th Amendment

    14th Amendment
    The 14th amendment was one of the reconstruction amendments. It states that no state can make/enforce any law that abridges the privileges or immunities of US citizens. Every person in the US should have equal protection of laws. The due process clause of the fourteenth amendment would become increasingly important as federal rights were applied to states through incorporation doctrine. However, the amendment was initially important because it allowed everyone of every race the same liberties.
  • 15th Amendment

    15th Amendment
    This amendment extended suffrage, the right to vote, to African Americans. This moved towards better racial equality, but was not fully implemented right away. Southern states used literacy tests as voting qualifications, and instituted the grandfather clause to make sure illiterate white people could still vote. African American suffrage was also limited by poll taxes and white primaries.
  • Poll Taxes

    Poll Taxes
    Poll taxes were small taxes placed on the right to vote. After the 15th amendment, many people still wanted to limit former slaves' as well as other African Americans from voting. Many former slaves were sharecroppers who earned very little. Poll taxes made it easier for southern states to exclude African Americans from voting as they were not able to pay. The 24th amendment in 1964 officially abolished poll taxes, opening up more voting opportunity.
  • Plessy v Ferguson

    Plessy v Ferguson
    Plessy v Ferguson was a landmark decision known for the "separate but equal" doctrine. It ruled that segregation laws were constitutional as long as the separate facilities were of equal quality. This meant that racial discrimination laws in the South were allowed to continue even though they were viewed by many as unconstitutional and immoral. It is therefore often claimed to be the worst Supreme Court decision in U.S. history. However, it was later overturned by Brown v Board of Education.
  • White Primaries

    White Primaries
    This was one of the methods used by southern states to limit African American voting. After the 15th amendment was passed many people were still against African Americans voting. They instituted white primaries, which were primary elections in which only white voters were allowed to vote. This way, African Americans could not influence the parties' nominees. Smith v Allright ended this practice by declaring the 1923 Texas white primaries unconstitutional.
  • 19th Amendment

    19th Amendment
    This amendment prohibited voting discrimination based on sex. This meant that for the first time, women had a legal right to vote in the United States. This had been a long time in the making, as suffragists had been fighting for this right since the mid 1800s at the Seneca Falls Convention. The 19th amendment came after years of discrimination of sex. It was more smoothly implemented than the 15th amendment as there was generally less prejudice against women than African Americans.
  • Brown v Board of Education

    Brown v Board of Education
    Brown v Board of Education was the landmark decision that overturned Plessy v Ferguson. It ruled that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional, even when the "separate but equal" doctrine was followed. The unanimous decision stated that such behavior was illegal under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. It was a class action suit represented by the NAACP's Thurgood Marshall. The decision led to racial integration of public schools, although it was met with resistance.
  • Affirmative Action

    Affirmative Action
    Affirmative action is a controversial policy intended to account for the history of discrimination again minorities and other groups in various settings. This includes employment practices and more, though it is most commonly associated with higher education because of diversity goals that were once racial quotas. It was first made official in the U.S. with an executive order by JFK. It has been expanded upon by later presidents, clarified by the Supreme Court, and banned by multiple states.
  • 24th Amendment

    24th Amendment
    The 24th amendment states that citizens' right to vote cannot be abridged by poll taxes or any other taxes. This encouraged all eligible citizens to vote as they no longer had to pay. Leading up to this amendment, government leaders, especially those in the south, placed poll taxes on voting. These taxes did not allow for former slaves to vote as they were not earning enough money to pay the taxes. The 24th amendment helped to enforce the 15th amendment by increasing voting ability.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    A landmark civil rights law in the United States. Under this law, segregation on the basis of race, religion, and national origin was prohibited in all places of public accommodation. The act also barred discrimination in the work place based on sex, religion, and race and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Finally, it prohibited funds for discriminatory purposes and created the Office of Education, which turned into a cabinet department to help with educational desegregation.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    This act helped to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. It outlawed discriminatory practices like literacy tests. The act enforced the 15th amendment. Civil Rights acts that attempted to fix the issue of voting limitations were not strong enough to limit local officials. The Voting Rights act allowed for the appointment of Federal examiners to make sure that local officials were not discriminating against people when deciding who could vote. These examiners could register qualified people.
  • Reed v Reed

    Reed v Reed
    Reed v Reed was an Equal Protections case regarding gender discrimination. The case came from a conflict between a married couple appointing an administrator of their son's estate. Idaho law stated that males have preference over females. Sally Reed, with the support of the ACLU, argued that the 14th Amendment prohibited this case of gender discrimination. With a unanimous decision, Idaho's law was ruled unconstitutional and a precedence was set that prohibited gender discrimination.
  • Regents of the University of California v Bakke

    Regents of the University of California v Bakke
    Regents of the University of California v Bakke was a landmark decision regarding affirmative action. It upheld affirmative action as constitutional in college admissions, stating that race is allowed to be a factor in decisions. It did however limit this by ruling against the use of specific racial quotas. Bakke was a white male who was rejected from medical school, in part because there were seats set aside for minorities. The court was divided, but the decision was upheld in a later case.
  • Equal Rights Amendment

    Equal Rights Amendment
    While it has not been passed, the Equal Rights Amendment proposed equal legal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. This would apply to employment, property, divorce, and more. It was originally introduced in 1923, and reintroduced in 1971 during the women's rights movement. It passed through Congress and was supposed to be ratified by the states by 1979, but failed to. Recently, interest in ratifying the amendment has been revived, though there are many legal questions.
  • Bowers v Hardwick

    Bowers v Hardwick
    Bowers v Hardwick was a Supreme Court case that dealt with Georgia's sodomy laws. Though it was not explicitly stated, the law essentially illegalized homosexuality. The majority ruled that the law was Constitutional because there is no Constitutional right to engage in homosexual behavior. Some justices were against homosexuality in general, while those dissenting emphasized the right to privacy. Ultimately, the decision was overruled in 2003 with sodomy laws decided to be unconstitutional.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    Americans with Disabilities Act
    The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination due to disability and guarantees equal protection; in that aspect, it is similar to the Civil Rights Act. It also requires employers to accommodate employees with disabilities and places accessibility requirements for public facilities. It was signed into law by H. W. Bush in 1990, and amended in 2008 primarily to clarify the definition of a disability.
  • Lawrence v Texas

    Lawrence v Texas
    Lawrece v Texas was a landmark decision on sodomy laws and right to privacy. It overturned Bowers v Hardwick and upheld the right to privacy as supported by Roe v Wade, though it is not explicitly stated in the Constitution. It ruled sodomy laws unconstitutional on the basis that the government should not interfere with the freedom to private relationships by consenting adults. This invalidated anti-homosexuality laws in many states. This case helped further progress, like Obergefell v Hodges.
  • Obergefell v Hodges

    Obergefell v Hodges
    Obergefell v Hodges is a landmark civil rights case that allows gay marriage. It ruled that the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment extend the right to marriage to same-sex couples. Previously, some states had legalized same-sex marriage, but the couples would not be recognized in states where it was illegal. However, this case means that all states now have to legally recognize and allow same-sex marriages.