Civil Rights Movement

  • Period: to

    Modern Civil Rights Movement

  • World War II Ends

    On September 2nd, 1945, World War II comes to a close in Japan, sending thouands of African-American troops home.
  • US Armed Services Integrated

    Executive Order 9981 is created by President Harry Truman, ordering the racial integration of the US Armed Services. It is considered a major victory for the early Civil Rights movement.
  • Brown v. Board of Ed Decision Handed Down

    On May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court hands down its decision for Brown v. Board of Ed, a unanimous decision in which the court prohibited the "separate but equal" statute that had been in place for over 50 years. The case was succesfully argued by NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who would later become the first black Supreme Court Justice.
  • Greensboro, SC Accepts Court Decision

    On May 18, 1954, the city of Greensboro, South Carolina announces that its school board will accept the Brown v. Board of Ed decision and integrate its school system.
  • Rosa Parks Arrested, Start of Montgomery Bus Boycott

    In a test case, NAACP and Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat in the front of a Montgomery public bus to a white person. Parks' arrest sparks the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which marked the transition during CRM away from legal advocacy and towards nonviolent resistance.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott Successfully Ends

    On December 20, 1956, a federal court rules that bus segregation is illegal, marking the end of the successful bus boycott by African Americans in Montgomery. The boycott had been successfully run by Martin Luther King Jr., and the protest's success makes him a national figure.
  • Little Rock Nine Incident

    Nine black students begin attending the previously segregated Little Rock Central High School. Numerous altercations with students and the state government necessitates President Eisenhower to federalize the Arkansas National Gaurd and send in the 101st Airborne Unit to protect the students.
  • Sit-ins Begin

    On February 1, 1960, four black students sit in at an all white lunch counter, in what would become a staple nonviolent protest across the South. Sit-ins are ultimately successful, restaurant segregation is eventually outlawed.
  • Freedom Rides Begin

    On May 4, 1961, groups of white and black activists begin riding together on segregated interstate buses across the South. Despite enormous personal and physical cost to the protestors, interstate bus segregation is finally banned.
  • Voter Registration

    In what would become a well known image of the Civil Rights Movement, activists begin organizing voting drives across the South to register African American voters (many of whom had never previously voted). The drives call attention to biased voting registration laws.
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

    Perhaps the most iconic vision of the Civil Rights Movement, more than a million people flood the DC National Mall in a march for economic and social equality. Protest musicians such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez perform, and Dr. King gives his "I have a Dream" speech.
  • Birmingham Church Bombing

    As Civil Rights protests heat up in Birmingham, a group of KKK members bomb the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, kiling four young girls.
  • Dr. King Assasinated

    As the Civil Rights movement began to focus on economic issues, Dr. King gave his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech while in Memphis supporting black sanitation workers on strike. On April 4th, 1968, Dr. King is assasinated, sparking national race riots that last throughout the summer and peak at the Democratic National Convention in 1968.
  • Mississippi Freedom Summer

    Throughout the summer of 1964, activists came to Mississippi to register black voters and organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). The Freedom Summer helped break down the black fear in Mississippi of speaking out, leading to the continued destruction of Jim Crow-era segregation.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 Passes

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 passes, finally outlawing segregation and ripping down the final pieces of de jure segregation in the US.
  • MLK Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

    Dr. King becomes the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his Civil Rights nonviolent activism and teachings.
  • Selma to Montgomery Marches

    On March 7, 1965, marches of Civil Rights activists began from Selma to Montgomery. Although they were continually harrassed and attacked by police and others, the marches marked the height of success for the Civil Rights movement.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is passed, ensuring that all people can vote without discrimination. Widely considered one of the most important reforms enacted by CRM
  • Ten Point Program Written

    The Black Panther's "Ten Point Program" is written, a document which is a list of demands and goals for the party.
  • Black Panther Party Begins

    Building on the separatist, militant ideology of Malcolm X, a group of African American men form the beginnings of the Black Panther party, based on the developing ideology of Black Power. Unlike CRM, which advocated nonviolence, Black Panther ideology was rooted in militant, separatist ideology.
  • Black Panther Protest at California State Legislature

    On May 2, 1967, armed members of the Black Panther party enter the California State Legislature. Although the event appears to have been primarily a publicity stunt, it garnered increased attention for the party and resulted in a membership surge.