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Civil Rights Milestones: 1862-1965

By bradym
  • Emancipation Proclomation Issued

    Emancipation Proclomation Issued
    The Emancipation Proclomation was issued during the Civil War and freed all slaves in areas of the United States open rebellion against the country. It was the first real movement away from slavery that the United States experienced and was the first pro-civil rights law that was passed in the country's history. The passage of this document opened the door to freedom for blacks, giving them their first step forward towards equality.
  • Thirteenth Amendment Ratified

    Thirteenth Amendment Ratified
    The 13th Amendment, which was ratified shortly after the end of the Civil War, ended slavery as an institution in the United States. This allowed all slaves, not just those in areas of open rebellion, to be free men. While this was a large step forward for African Americans, practices like sharecropping still restricted their freedoms, resulting in a need for the civil rights movement that occured nearly a century later.
  • Fourteenth Amendment Ratified

    Fourteenth Amendment Ratified
    The 14th Amendment definied citizenship as any person born or naturalized into the US as well as made it illegal to discriminate based on race. Once more, however, whites got away with dodging this Amendment by justifying acts like segregation by saying that as long as the facilities were equal in quality, it was legal for there to be seperate facilities for blacks and whites. Whites stepping around the 14th Amendment in particular was a major reason there was a Civil Rights Movement at all.
  • Fifteenth Amendment Ratified

    Fifteenth Amendment Ratified
    The 15th Amendment made it illegal to prohibit someone to vote based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude," meaning that blacks would be allowed to vote. Whites got around this amendment by requiring poll tests and taxes as well as by institution grandfather clauses, which prohibited you from voting if your grandfather could not vote. This unfair treatment towards blacks was anothern thing that prompted the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    Plessy v, Ferguson was a court case that determined that racial segration was legal under the doctrine "seperate but equal." Plessy, a black man, had bought a first class ticket on a train; however, only whites could sit in first class. He argued against the legality of the segregation of trains in this court case and lost. "Seperate but equal" became the mantra of whites against integration during the Civil Rights Movement until Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    Brown v. Board of Ed was a court case in which five black students who wished to attend white schools argued that racial segregation was illegal. The court ruled that it was in fact illegal, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson by saying that "seperate facilities are inherently unequal." This was an important legal victory for the black population during this time because it illegalized segregation of public facilities, which was one of the main goals of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Murder of Emmett Till

    Murder of Emmett Till
    Emmett Till was a 14 year old black boy who was murdered by two white men for flirting with a white woman. The murder was very brutal, with Till's body being barely recognized after its recovery from a river in MI. The killers were acquited. This murder was very well publicized, which in combination with the graphic photos that were released of Till's body, stirred up a lot of support for the Civil Rights Movement from both blacks and whites that would otherwise have not be attained.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Montgomery Bus Boycott
    The Mongtomery Bus Boycott campaigned to end segration of public busses in Montgomery, AL by having all blacks find other modes of transportation so the bus companies would lose money. Many blacks even resorted to walking very long distances to avoid taking busses. With the help of agencies like the NAACP and SCLC and the determination of the black community, the boycott was successful. It was declared that segration of public busses was illegal, a major win for civil rights advocates.
  • Greensboro Sit-ins

    Greensboro Sit-ins
    The Greensboro Sit-ins were a nonviolent protest where four college students ordered food at a Woolworth's and tried to eat it at the counter. When they were told the counter was only for whites, the still sat there until the store closed. Soon sit-ins became a popular form on non-violent protest nationwide. The Greensboro sit-ins were influential because they showed the nation the effectiveness of non-violent protest as a way to campaign for civil rights.
  • Freedom Rides

    Freedom Rides
    The Freedom Rides were when several black and white non-violent civil rights activists rode public busses from Washington, DC to Montgomery, AL (intended to be New Orleans, LA) to test whether or not desegregation of busses was happening. As they moved into the Deep South, they met extreme violence from anti-civil rights whites and eventually had to stop the rides for their own safety. The rides helped show that blacks just wanted peace and equality by eliciting violent reactions from whites.
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    The March was a political rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC that was held in support of JFK's strong Civil Rights Bill that was going through the government. Between 200,000-300,000 marchers attended, and it was here that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his world-renowned "I Have a Dream" speech. The March is widely credited for having a large part in the influencing the passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).
  • Civil Rights Act Passed

    Civil Rights Act Passed
    The Civil Rights Act (1964) served the purpose of ended all forms of discrimination. Some of its more important provisions included ending unequal voter registration practices, ending de jure segregation of public accomodations, and cutting off the funding of goverment agencies found guilty of discrimination. The Civil Rights Act is regarded as one of the biggest acheivements that came out of the Civil Rights Movement because it was very effective at creating a more racially equal environment.
  • Voting Rights Act Passed

    Voting Rights Act Passed
    The Voting Rights Act (1965) reiterated the purpose of the 15th Amendment, but with provisions that prevented states from using techniques like poll tests/taxes in order to ensure that those who were otherwise qualified to vote could do so. Much like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this act was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson and is considered one of the largest steps towards racial equality in America that came out of the Civil Rights Movement.