Civil Rights TIMELINE

  • Event One

    Massachusetts outlaws slavery within its borders.
  • Event Fifteen

    The Missouri Compromise to maintain a balance of 12 slave and 12 free states.
  • Event sixteen

    In Virginia, Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion during which 57 whites are killed. U.S. troops kill 100 slaves. Turner is caught and hanged.
  • Event Nine

    President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation freeing "all slaves in areas still in rebellion."
  • Event Two

    The Civil War ends.
    The 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, is ratified.
  • Event Three

    The Supreme Court approves the "separate but equal" segregation doctrine.
  • Event Fourteen

    The National Negro Committee convenes. This leads to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
  • Event Four

    In its first national demonstration the Ku Klux Klan marches on Washington, D.C
  • Event Eight

    The Supreme Court declares school segregation unconstitutional in its ruling on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
  • Event Five

    Rosa Parks is jailed for refusing to move to the back of a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. A boycott follows, and the bus segregation ordinance is declared unconstitutional.
  • Event Six

    Freedom Rides begin from Washington, D.C., into Southern states. Student volunteers are bused in to test new laws prohibiting segregation.
  • Event Ten

    President Kennedy sends federal troops to the University of Mississippi to end riots so that James Meredith, the school's first black student, can attend.
    The Supreme Court rules that segregation is unconstitutional in all transportation facilities.
    The Department of Defense orders complete integration of military reserve units, excluding the National Guard.
  • Event Eleven

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech to hundreds of thousands at the March on Washington, D.C.
    A church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, leaves four young black girls dead.
  • Event Seven

    Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, declaring discrimination based on race illegal.
  • Event Seven

    Malcolm X is assassinated. Malcolm X, a longtime minister of the Nation of Islam, had rejected Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s policies of non-violence. He preached black pride and economic self-reliance for blacks. He eventually became a Muslim and broke with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad
  • Event Twelve

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray pleaded guilty of the crime in March 1969 and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
    President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.
  • Event Thirteen

    The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday is established.