Civil Rights Movement Timeline

Timeline created by 21mgiordano
In History
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
  • Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
    African American civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white passenger. Her arrest initiated a sustained bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Protest began on December 5, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The Little Rock Nine and the Little Rock Central High School Integration

    The Little Rock Nine and the Little Rock Central High School Integration
    Nine African American students attended their first day at Little Rock Central High School, whose entire student population had until then been white. They weren't allowed to enter by the Arkansas National Guard but returned on September 23 but met with violence so they had to continually be protected by U.S. soldiers.
  • The Greensboro Four and the Sit-In Movement

    The Greensboro Four and the Sit-In Movement
    A group of four freshman from the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina, a historically black college, began a sit-in movement in downtown Greensboro. They sat at the "whites only" lunch counter. They were refused service and asked to leave but they remained seated until closing. The protest spread to other cities, including Atlanta and Nashville.
  • Ruby Bridges and the New Orleans School Integration

    Ruby Bridges and the New Orleans School Integration
    Six-year-old Ruby Bridges was escorted to her first day at the previously all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans by four armed federal marshals. They were met with angry mobs shouting their disapproval but every day that year, she was still escorted despite many insults and threats.
  • Freedom Rides

    Freedom Rides
    The Freedom Rides began with a group of seven African Americans and six whites, who boarded two buses bound for New Orleans. They used facilities for the opposite race as their buses made stops along the way. They were confronted by violence in South Carolina and the vehicle was even firebombed and the Freedom Riders were beaten. As riders were arrested or beaten, more riders took their place.
  • Birmingham Demonstrations

    Birmingham Demonstrations
    Martin Luther King, Jr., and the SCLC launched a campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, with local Pastor Fred Shuttlesworth and the ACMHR to undermine the city's system of racial segregation. Demonstrations faced challenges and King eventually was arrested as well.
  • Children's Crusade

    Children's Crusade
    School-aged volunteers skipped school and began to march. Police and fire departments set high-pressure water hoses and attack dogs on the youth.
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    Approximately 250,000 people take part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Martin Luther King gives the closing address in front of the Lincoln Memorial and states, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ' We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
  • Birmingham Bombing

    Birmingham Bombing
    A bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama kills four young girls and injures several other people prior to Sunday services which fueled angry protests.
  • Civil Rights Act

    Civil Rights Act
    President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the Civil Rights Act into law, a stronger version of what his predecessor, President Kennedy, had proposed the previous summer before his assassination in November 1963. Act authorized the federal government to prevent racial discrimination in employment, voting, and the use of public facilities.
  • Assassination of Malcolm X

    Assassination of Malcolm X
    The prominent African American leader, Malcolm X, was assassinated while lecturing at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York. He spoke out demanding it move beyond civil rights to human rights. His speeches and ideas contributed to the black nationalist ideology.
  • Selma-Montgomery March

    Selma-Montgomery March
    Martin Luther King, Jr. organized a march from Selma, Alabama, to the state's capital, Montgomery, to call for a federal voting rights law that would provide legal support for disenfranchised African Americans in the South. State troopers responded with violence.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    President Johnson signs the Voting RIghts Act of 1965 to prevent the use of literacy tests as a voting requirement. It also allowed federal examiners to review voter qualifications and federal observers to monitor polling places.
  • Watts Riots

    Watts Riots
    A series of violent confrontations between the city police and residents of Watts and other predominantly African American neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Violence likely exploded from the great economic challenges that African Americans in urban centers faced.
  • Black Panther Party Founded

    Black Panther Party Founded
    In the wake of the assassination of Malcolm X and urban uprisings, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black panther Party in Oakland, California, to protect African American neighborhoods from police brutality.
  • Loving v. Virginia

    Loving v. Virginia
    The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Virginia statutes prohibiting interracial marriage unconstitutional in the case Loving v. Virginia. Case declined 9 years after Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter had pleaded guilty to having violated Virginia state law prohibiting a white person and a colored person from leaving the state to be married and returning to live as man and wife.
  • Detroit Riot

    Detroit Riot
    A series of violent confrontations between residents of predominantly African American neighborhoods and city police in Detroit. Nearby residents protested, and several began to vandalize property, loot businesses, and start fires for the next five days.
  • Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by a sniper while standing on the second floor balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He had been staying at the hotel after leading a nonviolent demonstration in support of striking sanitation workers in that city. His murder set off riots in hundreds of cities across the country.
  • Fair Housing Act

    Fair Housing Act
    President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act, providing equal housing opportunity regardless of race, religion or national origin.