Civil Rights Timeline

By Xarcolt
  • Rosa Parks Arrested for Civil Disobediance

    Rosa Parks stood up for what she believed, or rather, sat down for what she believed. On the evening of December 1, 1955, Parks, an African American, was tired after a long day of work and decided to take a seat on the bus on her ride home. Because she sat down and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, she was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring black people to relinquish seats to white people when the bus was full.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially started on December 1, 1955. That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. It was not, however, the day that the movement to desegregate the buses started. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1943 when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks paid her bus fare and then watched the bus drive off.
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    Part One

  • The reverands walk away from the Courthouse.

    Reverands Martin Luther King, Jr. and David Abernathy walk away from the Montgomery County Courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • King is back from court in Montgomery, Alabama.

    After leaving court in Montgomery, Alabama, the Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr. is welcomed by a kiss from his wife Coretta.
  • King speaks about his arrest for leading the Bus Boycott.

    The Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to the media about his arrest for leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Rosa Parks sits in the front of the bus.

    The day a supreme court ruling led to the banning of segregation of the city's public transit vehicles, Rosa Parks sits in front of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • King collapses during prayer over bus-integration violence.

    After praying in Montgomery over bus-integration violence, the Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr. collapses.
  • Little Rock, Arkansas' Central Highschool: National Guard.

    Under Governor's orders, National Guardsmen protected Little Rock Arkansas' Central High School.
  • National Guard prevents blacks from going to a white school

    On September 2, the night before school was to start, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out the state's National Guard to surround Little Rock Central High School and prevent any black students from entering in order to protect citizens and property from possible violence by protesters he claimed were headed in caravans toward Little Rock.
    A federal judge granted an injunction against the Governor's use of National Guard troops to prevent integration and they were withdrawn on September 20.
  • Meeting of Civil Rights with Eisenhower.

    President Eisenhower meets with Civil Rights leaders including Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. arrested for loitering.

    The Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr. is arrested for loitering in the vicinity of the Montgomery Recorder's Court. The charge was later changed to "failure to obey an officer" and he was released on $200 bond.
  • MLK, Jr. recovers in hospital due to stab-wound.

    Still recovering from his stab wound (inflicted in a Harlem Bookstore by an African American woman), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is embraced by his wife Coretta Scott King during a news conference at Harlem Hospital in New York. His mother, Alberta Williams King, was at his side.
  • Sit-in at Woolworth's lunch counter

    Four African American college students sat down at a lunch counter at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, and politely asked for service. Their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. Their passive resistance and peaceful sit-down demand helped ignite a youth-led movement to challenge racial inequality throughout the South.
  • Atlanta sit-in. King faces $2million bond-fee.

    People staged a sit-in demonstration through a picket-line in front of an Atlanta department store where the Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr. is arrested and taken to jail. The following week, the trespassing charges were dropped. King was held on a charge of violating a probated sentence in a traffic arrest case, while all jailed demonstrators were released. He was transferred to the Dekalb County jail in Decatur, Georgia, then transfered to the Reidsville State Prison. Released on $2mil. bond
  • Freedom Riders' Bus Burned

    On May 14, Mother's Day, in Anniston, a mob of Ku Klux Klansmen, some still in church attire, attacked the first of the two buses (the Greyhound). The driver tried to leave the station, but was blocked until KKK members slashed its tires. The mob forced the crippled bus to stop several miles outside of town and then firebombed it. As the bus burned, the mob held the doors shut, intending to burn the riders to death. However, (unconfirmed) something frightened the mob away.
  • Escorted from jail to courthouse

    Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr. was escorted by officers from jail to County Courthouse in Atlanta, for a hearing.
  • Freedom Riders prepare for a trip to the south..

    Freedom Riders prepare to resume their trip to the south. They were arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, and spent 40 to 60 days in jail.
  • King becomes part of lecture series.

    During his visit to Seattle, the Reverand Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks, which became part of a lecture series presented by the Brotherhood of Mount Zion Baptist Church.
  • 'The Other America' written by Michael Harrington

    Michael Harrington’s book The Other America was an influential study of poverty in the United States, published in 1962 by Macmillan.
  • James Meredith escorted to class by marshals

    Marshals escort James Meredith - the first African American student accepted - to class at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi.
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    Part II

  • MLK arrested after Birmingham demonstraton

    On April 12th 1963, Martin Luther King Jr was arrested following a nonviolent protest demonstrating against segregation in Birmingham Alabama. Police Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor arrested King for demonstrating without a permit and placed him in the Birmingham City Jail for 11 days.
  • King writes letter from Birmingham Jail

    During his time In jail King wrote his famous "letter From Birmingham City Jail" in response to a letter written by eight local clergymen which stated that King's protest was "unwise and untimely" and asking the black population for an end to the demonstration. In His response King argued that it was a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws, and that African Americans have waited long enough for there full rights as citizens.
  • March on Washington & 'I Have a Dream Speech'

    On 28 August 1963, more than 200,000 demonstrators took part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in the nation’s capital. The march was successful in pressuring the administration of John F. Kennedy to initiate a strong federal civil rights bill in Congress. During this event, Martin Luther King delivered his memorable ‘‘I Have a Dream’’ speech.
  • President Kennedy's Assassination

    On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President; he was the youngest to die.
  • Johnson Assumes presidency after JFK's assassination

    President Lyndon Baines Johnson became president on November 22, 1963 following the assassination of President Kennedy. Johnson was Kennedy's Vice President.
  • 24th Amendment Ratified

    On January 23, 1964, the United States ratified the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting any poll tax in elections for federal officials.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    On 2 July 1964, Johnson signed the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law with King and other civil rights leaders present.
  • Malcom X dies

    After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, he returned to the United States, where he founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. In February 1965, less than a year after leaving the Nation of Islam, he was assassinated by three members of the group
  • Voting Rights Act (1965)

    On 6 August 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, calling the day ‘‘a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield’’ (Johnson, ‘‘Remarks in the Capitol Rotunda’’).
  • Watts Riots

    On Wednesday, 11 August 1965, Marquette Frye, a 21-year-old black man, was arrested for drunk driving on the edge of Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. The ensuing struggle during his arrest sparked off 6 days of rioting, resulting in 34 deaths, over 1,000 injuries, nearly 4,000 arrests, and the destruction of property valued at $40 million. On 17 August 1965, Martin Luther King arrived in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the riots.
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    Part III

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated

    At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hit by a sniper's bullet. King had been standing on the balcony in front of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, when, without warning, he was shot.
  • Forced bussing begins

    On June 21, 1974—a date that has lived in local infamy—U.S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. ordered massive forced busing to integrate the Boston Public Schools. It was the shot heard ’round the city.