Civil rights 1

Civil Rights Timeline

  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott, an African American slave had been taken to a free state by his owner, and his case for freedom went to the Supreme Court. The Court held that African Americans, slave or free, were not citizens, and therefore did not have standing in USA courts.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    This was a presidential proclamation issued as a war strategy by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. It proclaimed that all slaves in rebelling states were free.
  • 13th Amendment

    This amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and any form of involuntary servitude in the entire nation, excepting punishments for crimes
  • 14th Amendment

    This amendment to the United States Constitution follows up on questions of citizenship posed to newly freed slaves. It holds that all citizens are provided the same rights, which may not be withheld by any government official. It also addresses debts incurred during the Civil War, and disability for Confederation leaders to hold office.
  • 15th Amendment

    This amendment to the United States Constitution provided the right to vote for all citizens regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
  • Plessy vs. Ferguson

    In a case challenging segregation, the Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" was constitutional. Segregation remained constitutional until Brown vs. Board of Education was decided.
  • Executive Order 9981

    President Harry S. Truman issued the Executive Order to abolish racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces. This later resulted in the desegreation of the Forces.
  • Brown vs. Board of Education

    Topeka, Kansas: This case, protesting the use of "separate but equal" in terms of schools, made its way to Warren's Supreme Corut, where the majority decided that the "separate facilities are inherently unequal," forcing schools to integrate.
  • Murder of Emmit Till

    Money, Mississippi: Emmit Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago, Illinois, was visiting relatives when he was murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman. The trial in which his killers were convicted attracted vast attention and sympathy for the victim's family.
  • Bus Boycott

    Montgomery, Alabama: Inspiried by the arrest of Rosa Parks, a black woman who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, boycotted Montomery buses. Over a year later, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated buses are unconstitutional.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1957

    The goal of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was to ensure that all African Americans could exercise their right to vote. It was a reaction to literacy tests and poll taxes that southern states were enacting to prevent African Americans from voting.
  • Integration of Little Rock Central High School

    Little Rock, Arkansas: Nine African American students volunteered to be the first to enter a previously white high school that had been ordered to desegregated. They were faced with angry mobs and a blockade of local National Gaurd under orders of the Governor. President Dwight D. Eisenhower intervened, drawing national attention to the racial violence that occured.
  • Greensboro Sit-In

    Greensboro, North Carolina: Four African American students protested segregation at lunch counters in the popular Woolworth chain store by sitting down despite not being offered service. This sparked many similar protests, dubbed "sit-ins," that led to violence.
  • Freedom Riders

    Begining in 1961, African Americans and white civil rights activists rode interstate buses into segregated southern states to test the enforcement of the recent ruling that segregated buses are illegal. Many southerners disagreed and the Riders were prone to major violence during their peaceful protest.
  • James Meredith Attends Univeristy of Mississippi

    Oxford, Mississippi: James Meredith excercised his constitutional right to apply to a segregated university, and was denied twice. With the backing and council of the NAACP, Meredith filed suit. In the following year, the court order that he be admitted, and, after state resistance, President Kennedy order that all persons obstucting the law "cease and desist therefrom."
  • Civil Rights Protests

    Birmingham, Alabama: During peaceful civil rights protests, police under the command of segregationist Public Safety Commissioner "Bull" Conner arrested activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Letters from a Birmingham Jail

    Birmingham, Alabama: During the Birmingham campaign, a series of non-violent sit-ins and protests led in part by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s SCLC, King was arrested and jailed. During his time in prison, King wrote this moving public letter that defended non-violence in pursuit of equality.
  • Murder of Medgar Evers

    Jackson, Mississippi: Civil rights activist Medgar Evers was brutally shot in front of his home by a Klansman. He made his way to a hospital, where he was initially denied admittance because of his race, but was later admitted, although he died soon after. The man responsible was convicted, and the assassination attracted much attention.
  • "I Have a Dream"

    Washington, D.C.: Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to over 250,000 civil rights supporters amid the March on Washington.
  • Bombing of 16th Street Church

    Birmingham, Alabama: Four young, African American girls were killed in a bombing performed by Klu Klux Klan members. The bombing sparked numerous violent protests in the city, resulting in more deaths.
  • 24th Amendment

    This Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits poll taxes, or taxes collected equally from all voters.
  • Murder of Civil Rights Workers

    Neshoba County, Mississippi: Three civil rights workers, two white men and one African American, were shot by the local Klu Klux Klan and members of the Neshoba Police Department. Their murders were investigated by the FBI in a case called "Mississippi Burning," which took over a month a led to only seven convictions with minor punishments despite 18 arrests.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    This federal bill outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by public facilities.
  • Malcolm X's Assassination

    Manhattan, New York: Malcolm X was preparing for a speech for the Organization of Afro-American Unity when there was a disturbance in the crowd. Malcolm X was shot 21 times by three different men.
  • Bloody Sunday

    Selma, Alabama: 600 civil rights proponets, in a march, were attacked by state and local police with tear gas and other violence.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this act into law, prohibiting discrimination at voting polls. It established federal jurisdiction to oversee voting polls to ensure that literacy tests, poll taxes, etc. were abolished.
  • Watts Riots

    Los Angeles, California: Resulting in 34 deaths and over 1,000 injuries, this was one of the city's worst race riots. The sparking incident was the arrest of a black man for driving under the influence. He resisted arrest, and violence ensued, resulting in the riots, which lasted one week.
  • Executive Order 11246

    This established non-descirimination requirements for government contractors. The may not descriminate based on race, sex, religion, or national origin in hiring or employment decisions.
  • Black Panthers Founded

    Oakland, California: Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panthers, a manifestation of the Black Power movement, and inspired by the teachings of Malcolm X. They demanded respect by instigating violnece with local police and encouraging black nationalism.
  • Loving vs. Virginia

    Mildred and Richard Loving, an African American woman and white man, had been senteced to prison in Virginia for marrying each other, as it violated a state statute. They petitioned, and their case was decided by the Supreme Court. Laws prohibiting interracial marriage were declared unconstitutional.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Assassination

    Memphis, Tennessee: Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech in support of a strike held by saniation workers for better wages and treatment. King was shot while he was standing on the balcony of his hotel room that day.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1968

    This federal bill provided equal oppotunity for housing for people of all races. It prohibits discrimination in the sale and rental of houses, and in financial arrangements.