civil rights of the 1950's and 60's

  • Period: to

    civil rights

  • may 17, 1954

    The Supreme Court rules on the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans., unanimously agreeing that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
  • December 1, 1955

    Rosa Parks refuses to give up bus seat to a white passenger
  • september 1957

    Nine black students blocked from entering a school.
  • February 1,1960

    Four black students sit at the "white only" lunch counter
  • april 1960

    the SNCC is founded
  • may 4 1961

    The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) begins sending student volunteers on bus trips to test the implementation of new laws prohibiting segregation in interstates.
  • jun 12 1963

    Mississippi's NAACP field secretary, 37-year-old Medgar Evers, is murdered outside his home. Byron De La Beckwith is tried twice in 1964, both trials resulting in hung juries. Thirty years later he is convicted for murdering Evers.
  • august 28, 1963

    About 250,000 people join the March on Washington. Congregating at the Lincoln Memorial, participants listen as Reverend King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • September 15 1963

    Four young girls attending Sunday school are killed when a bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a popular location for civil rights meetings. Riots erupt in Birmingham, leading to the deaths of two more black youths.
  • july 2 1964

    President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, making segregation in public facilities and discrimination in employment illegal.
  • august 5 1964

    Three Mississippi civil-rights workers are officially declared missing, having disappeared on June 21. The last day they were seen, James E. Cheney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, had been arrested, incarcerated, and then released on speeding charges. Their murdered bodies are found after President Johnson sends military personnel to join the search party. It is later revealed that the police released the three men to the Ku Klux Klan. The trio had been working to register b
  • february 21 1965

    Malcolm X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is shot to death in Harlem. It is believed the assailants are members of the Black Muslim faith, which Malcolm had recently abandoned.
  • march 7 1965

    Blacks begin a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights but are stopped at the Pettus Bridge by a police blockade. Fifty marchers are hospitalized after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them. The incident is dubbed "Bloody Sunday" by the media.
  • august 10 1965

    Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests and other such requirements that tended to restrict black voting become illegal.
  • april 4 1968

    Reverend King, at age 39, is shot as he stands on the balcony outside his hotel room. Although escaped convict James Earl Ray later pleads guilty to the crime, questions about the actual circumstances of King's assassination remain to this day.