Civil Rights Timeline

  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    Dred Scott was slave from the slave state of Missouri who moved with his owner to the free area of Illinois. When his owner tried to take him back to Missouri he sued in court saying that since he was in free territory he was now a free man. The court ruled that black people did not qualify as American citizens whether they were free or enslaved and were not included in the use of the word "citizen" in the Constitution.
  • 13th Amendment

    13th Amendment
    This was the amendment passed by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 abolishing slavery in the United States. This amendment states that slavery and other forms of involuntary servitude was illegal in the United States unless it was a punishment for a crime.
  • 14th Amendment

    14th Amendment
    The 14th amendment passed under Andrew Johnson's presidency stated that granted equal legal and civil rights to all black people in the United States by including them in the term "all persons born or naturalized in the United States." This amendment is most commonly used now for its Due Process Clause.
  • 15th Amendment

    15th Amendment
    The 15th amendment passed in 1870 by Ulysses S. Grant stated that no one can be denied the right to vote based on race or previous state of servitude. This was made to combat the laws which were made to limit the rights of black citizens in the United States before and after the 13th and 14th amendments had been passed.
  • Plessy v Ferguson

    Plessy v Ferguson
    Plessy v Ferguson is a court case that refers to Homer Plessy, a man who was 1/8 black, who refused to move to the designated black car on the train. He was then arrested for violating one of Louisiana's Separate Car Act. Plessy then took this to court where they ruled against Plessy saying this was constitutional under the "separate but equal" doctrine. This case made it prevalent that segregation was viewed as constitutional in this time.
  • 19th Amendment

    19th Amendment
    After a long battle for women's suffrage lead by activists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton the 19th amendment made it legal for women to vote. The law explicitly states that there is to be no voting discrimination on basis of sex meaning women were finally given one of the rights they had been fighting for.
  • Equal Rights Amendment

    Equal Rights Amendment
    The Equal Rights Amendment was an amendment proposed in 1923 that would guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. It would end discriminatory practices in the workforce, divorce, and property rights. This amendment was never explicitly ratified by the United States however some states such as Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia are still ratifying the amendment in the current day.
  • White Primaries

    White Primaries
    The white primaries were discriminatory voting practices that took place in southern states limiting primary votes only to white people. Doing this they ensure that they were able to elect government officials that had their best interests in mind however it also meant that minorities of the nation were being severely underrepresented. This was outlawed after Smith v Allwright in 1944.
  • Brown v Board of Education

    Brown v Board of Education
    This was a landmark court case that made racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional even if the segregated schools were of the same quality. This meant that the previous ideals on the "separate but equal" doctrine were now changing and Plessy v Ferguson was ultimately overruled. This was a huge step towards racial equality.
  • Poll Taxes

    Poll Taxes
    The poll tax was a fixed amount states levied to adults without any reference to the income of each individual. This was often linked to voting as yet another way to limit the voice of the minorities within the nation but also had been a very big source of revenue for the government before it was outlawed in the 24th amendment..
  • 24th Amendment

    24th Amendment
    The 24th amendment was ratified in 1964 under Lyndon B. Johnson making it illegal for Congress or states make citizens pay a poll tax before voting. This allows for all citizens to vote as the constitution intended.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    The Civil Rights act of 1964 was passed under president Lyndon B. Johnson after a long past of segregation and inequality. This act declared that there was to be no segregation in public places and no discrimination in employment based on race, religion, or sex. This was passed after a long civil rights battle lead by Martin Luther King Jr and other civil rights activists.
  • Affirmative Action

    Affirmative Action
    Affirmative action refers to favoring groups or minorities that have previously been discriminated against in various fields such as employment, education, or resources. This policy aims to increase opportunities for groups that have not had the same representation in the past. This policy can be taken in regards to race, sex, religion, or color but ultimately was created to increase opportunity.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed by Lyndon B. Johnson made the discriminatory regulations that states had on voting illegal. After the Civil War many southern states created laws and regulations to limit the rights of black people in the nation and one of these laws was having a literacy test before allowing people to vote. Due to the fact that many black people were not literate this meant that they were not able to vote. This act changed that
  • Reed v Reed

    Reed v Reed
    Reed v Reed was another landmark court case that ruled that it was unconstitutional to require the selection of a male for an administrative position where there were equally qualified women. They ruled this because they viewed this as a violation of the 14th amendment. This basically meant that sexism in the workforce would not be permitted in cases where a woman and a man are equally qualified. This was another step towards equality between sexes.
  • Regents of the University of California v Bakke

    Regents of the University of California v Bakke
    Regents v Bakke was a landmark case that supported affirmative action in the college admissions process but ruled that it was unconstitutional to have a quota to do so. Bakke was rejected to the University of California and he believed this was due to the fact that the school had a set quota where 16 positions out of 100 were set apart for racial minorities. In the end it was ruled that racial consideration was allowed by colleges but not a racial quota.
  • Bowers v Hardwick

    Bowers v Hardwick
    Bowers v Hardwick was a Court case that ruled that gay adults engaging in "consensual sodomy" in private was not a right that was protected by the constitution. A Georgia police officer saw Hardwick taking part in homosexual sodomy in the privacy of his bedroom and then arrested him. Hardwick took it to court where the court said that there's nothing in the Constitution in regards to sodomy so states were able to make their own laws.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    Americans with Disabilities Act
    This civil rights law made discrimination based on disability illegal. It gives very similar rights to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 except for those with disabilities. This law also requires employers to give reasonable accommodations to their employees with disabilities. Overall this act was kind of just an expansion on the Civil Rights Act.
  • Lawrence v Texas

    Lawrence v Texas
    This court case overruled Bowers v Hardwick saying that it was a violation of the 14th amendment's Due Process Clause to make homosexual sodomy illegal. When a Houston police officer walked into Lawrence's apartment after hearing reports to weapon disturbance and saw Lawrence engaging in homosexual sodomy he was arrested similarly to the way Bowers was in 1986. This time however, the court viewed this as a protected act under the 14th amendment.
  • Obergefell v Hodges

    Obergefell v Hodges
    This court case ruled it unconstitutional for states to states to put bans on same-sex marriage. The 14 amendment's Due Process Clause ensures the same liberties to same sex couples as it does to heterosexual couples. This court case stated that in terms of the Constitution and law same homosexual couples are viewed the same as heterosexual couples.