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Events for 1940s - 1980s

  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    The federal government upheld the doctrine of "Separate but Equal" in the court case of Plessy v. Ferguson. This resulted from a black man refusing to sit in the black designated train car. Homer Plessy fought the federal court over violation of his rights according to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The court found no constitutional violation because the the 14th Amendment only applied to political and civil rights not social rights. This was a landmark case.
  • CORE is Established

    CORE is Established
    Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is created to desegregate public facilities and became one of the first, leading activist organizations.
  • Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson
    Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He was picked up by the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • Truman Desegregates Military

    Truman Desegregates Military
    Executive Order 9981 stated that no man should be discriminated against for reasons of race, color, religion, or national origin in the military. This was the first time that the Armed forces had been officially desegregated.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    Brown v. Board of Education was landmark case in which the doctrine of "Separate but Equal" was found unconstitutional. Oliver Brown filed a law suit against the Topeka Board of Education for denying his daughter, Linda Brown, access to an all white school. This court case was considered along with four others that rest in front of the supreme court. After much pressure and persistence, the courts ruled in favor of desegregating public schools, because separate but equal is, in fact, unequal.
  • Eisenhower Develops Domino Theory

    Eisenhower Develops Domino Theory
    Eisenhower's Domino Theory was a key step leading up to the Vietnam War. He spoke of the importance of keeping Vietnam from falling to Communist rule. He talked about Vietnam's economic and political importance. Eisenhower stated that once Vietnam fell to communism, the rest of Southeast Asia would also fall. He compared this situation to setting up dominoes and watching one fall into another until no dominoes remain.
  • Southeast Asia Treaty Organization Formed

    Southeast Asia Treaty Organization Formed
    Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States signed a treaty that vowed to keep communism from spreading in Southeaster Asia.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Montgomery Bus Boycott
    Rosa Parks Refuses to give her seat up to a black man on a bus. She is arrested and jailed. This action was the instigation of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • The Southern Manifesto

    The Southern Manifesto
    Howard Smith, a House Rules Committee chairman, proposed the Southern Manifesto. This collection of Constitutional principles was signed to protest the decisions made by Supreme Court's ruling on Brown v. Board of Education. The purpose of the manifesto was to keep schools segregated and avoid chaos and confusion among schools. Smith believed that the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education was a step across state's rights to govern public schools.
  • Johnson Implements Operation "Rolling Thunder"

    Johnson Implements Operation "Rolling Thunder"
    643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Northern Vietnam in an attempt to wreak havoc upon the communist Viet Cong. This event brought America closer to the front lines of the war, and gave America a more active role in the fight against Vietnam.
  • Little Rock Nine

    Little Rock Nine
    Nine African Americans attempted to enroll in all white Arkansas high school. This proceeded the decision of Brown v. Board of Education. It was a testament to the Supreme ruling of desegregation of public schools. The nine students were escorted to and from class with the assistance of national guard who had been sent in to protect the students. The students faced many challenges but were successful in their studies and more successful after high school.
  • SCLC Organizes

    SCLC Organizes
    The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was created under the administration of Martin Luther King. This nonviolent resistance group formed resulting from the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • NASA is Created

    NASA is Created
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was born in 1958. The foundation of NASA entered the US into a space race with Russia.
  • SDS is Formed

    SDS is Formed
    Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an organization created by students to protest the Vietnam War. SDS was responsible for a national march on Washington D.C. The ideas of the group began to differ separating and eventually dissolving the SDS.
  • Greensboro Sit-in

    Greensboro Sit-in
    Four African American college students staged a sit-in at Woolworth's lunch counter. When the students sat down, they were denied service. Instead of leaving in anger, the men sat in stubbornness and refused to give up their seats. This created a strain on the business because no white citizens wanted to eat where black men were. This concept of "starving" white businesses spread all across the nation. Lunch counters were not the only businesses being affected by these sit-ins.
  • CORE Freedom Rides

    CORE Freedom Rides
    Four black men and 6 white men rode a bus from Washington D.C. to the deep south to test the ruling that segregation on interstate bus and train travel was unconstitutional. They were faced with much hostility once arriving in the deep south. One bus was burned and many passengers were attacked.
  • Alliance for Progress is Created

    Alliance for Progress is Created
    The Alliance for Progress was a multi-billion dollar alliance with Latin American nations that helped to aide them. This was proposed to better relations and keep communism from spreading in Latin America.
  • Peace Corps is Founded

    Peace Corps is Founded
    Under President John F. Kennedy the Peace Corps was established within the department of State. This organization allowed Americans to be able to volunteer to go to developing countries and aide them in their efforts. The goal of this group was to create and promote world peace. Thousands of people have flooded into hundreds of third world countries to aide them in their developing efforts. This initial project of Kennedy's, that a Youth Peace Corps was also established later.
  • Kennedy Sends Troops to Support Diem to Fight Communist North (Ho Chi Minh)

    Kennedy Sends Troops to Support Diem to Fight Communist North (Ho Chi Minh)
    President Kennedy send troops in South Vietnam to aide Diem and the Southern Vietnam regime to eradicate the Viet Cong of northern Vietnam. This support was exchanged for land reforms and other measures by Diem.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis
    In a thirteen day standoff between the US and Russia, Russian nuclear missiles were located in Cuba . Russia agreed to remove the missiles in exchange for Cuba's protection from invasion.
  • Naval Blockade of Cuba

    Naval Blockade of Cuba
    Kennedy announced to the American people that military action was needed to scare Cuba and Russia out of a missile crisis. A naval blockade was ordered following the discovery of nuclear weapons in Cuba. This blockade lasted only a few days before being called off.
  • John Glenn is 1st American to Orbit Earth

    John Glenn is 1st American to Orbit Earth
    John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. He named his capsule Friendship 7. Glenn observed the liveliness of Earth for a mere five hours before returning to Earth
  • Meredith Enrolls in Ole Miss

    Meredith Enrolls in Ole Miss
    James Meredith, a twenty-nine year old African American man, enrolled in classes at Ole Miss. This broke the 114 year old tradition of all white students. Meredith's enrollment came shortly after a riot where two people were killed and nearly a hundred others were injured. Hundreds of marshals and nearly a thousand federal troops monitored and occupied the campus to detain any possible threat to Meredith. Riots continued to break out needing the aide of even more protection.
  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is Signed

    Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is Signed
    The United States, Soviet Union, and Great Britain signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. This treaty stated that nuclear weapons are not allowed to be tested in outer space, underwater or in the atmosphere
  • March on Washington

    March on Washington
    A protest was conducted on an August day in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Some 250,000 people showed up to protest the inequalities suffered by African Americans. This was to draw attention to the issues and make a statement about unequal jobs and unequal freedoms. At this gathering of people, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. This speech is still listened to, read, and appreciated nearly half a decade after he presented it.
  • 16th Street Baptist Church bombing

    16th Street Baptist Church bombing
    Early on Sunday morning, before mass had commenced, a bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church killing four young girls. The explosion caused many others within the church to get injured as well. The 16th Street Baptist Church was mostly populated by African Americans and was a meeting place for civil rights activists. Protest broke out drawing national attention to the incident. This bombing was one among three others that followed the court decision to integrate public schools.
  • John F. Kennedy's Assassination

    John F. Kennedy's Assassination
    The 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas as he drove through the streets in an open topped convertible. He was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. The gun man was able to get three shots off, of which lead to the death of president Kennedy. Texas governor, John Connally was also shot in the back and suffered minor injuries. Kennedy was pronounced 30 minutes later in a Dallas hospital. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on Air force Once nearly 2 hours later.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Civil Rights Act of 1964
    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a groundbreaking law that outlawed discrimination based upon race, color, sex, religion, or national background. This law also set standards and restrictions for labor laws. The Civil Rights Act was an all encompassing act that watched over schools, public facilities, employment opportunities, and equal voting registration. Although this bill was proposed by president Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson was the person responsible for the ratification.
  • 24th Amendment is Written into the Constitution

    24th Amendment is Written into the Constitution
    One of the most limiting factors of voting was finally set aside in 1964. The 24th Amendment was added to the Constitution. This amendment ended the poll tax. Until this point, people were required to pay a poll tax in order to vote. Eligible aged individuals were unable to elect their representatives due to this tax. This tax was unconstitutional and unfair because it restricted a select population from having a say in their nations government.
  • Freedom Summer

    Freedom Summer
    The freedom Summer, the Mississippi Summer Project, was a CORE ans SNCC voter registration drive for Mississippi African Americans. This was an attempt to reach out to all African Americans across the nation to register to vote. These groups also included almost 1,000 white citizens from other states. The Ku Klux Klan and Mississippi police departments carried out violent attacks against all members that either participated in voting or those registering people for voting.
  • War on Poverty

    War on Poverty
    President Lyndon B. Johnson expanded social welfare legislation when he "declared war" on poverty. Johnson focused more on the social inequalities to be the source of poverty rather than the people themselves. This was the gateway to the foundations of many organizations and federal/state programs. Differing ideas on the poor population were generated after Johnsons' announcement of the war on poverty. The opposition believed that federal funds should not be used to aid the poor.
  • Beatlemania

    Beatlemania
    The English Beatles were a house hold name in UK, however had much more trouble appealing to the Americans. After performing on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Beatles became instant stars over night in the States. People became obsessed with the group all over the globe.
  • Teach-ins Begin

    Teach-ins Begin
    The University of Michigan conducted the first official teach-in. All classes were canceled and anti-war seminars were held for around 12 hours. Many other colleges, universities, and institutions adopted the the idea preaching the idea of anti-Vietnam war. Students were able to give their ideas and opinions about the war and draft.Some professors were accused of preaching politics and trying to impress their own beliefs and ideas upon their students.
  • Selma to Montgomery March

    Selma to Montgomery March
    A three day journey from Selma, Alabama to the capitol, Montgomery, Alabama took place march of 1965. This was an event that fell into a large group of protest to try to increase black voter registration. This group of protesters walked 54 miles from beginning to end. They were met with violence from white supremacy and anti-black groups like the KKK. Through the struggle, King led some 2,000 marchers along the path that would go down in history forever.
  • Medicare & Medicaid

    Medicare & Medicaid
    Medicare and Medicaid are federal programs that were set up to allow the aging population, disabled population, and the low income population to be able to attain health care.
  • Water Quality Act

    Water Quality Act
    This act set up guidelines for the quality of interstate water quality. This act created standards that must be met regarding the purity of water. The purpose of this act is to maintain and restore chemical, physical and biological nature of water.
  • Immigration and Nationality Act

    Immigration and Nationality Act
    Immigration policy changed drastically in 1965. The National Origins Formula for the 1920s disappeared never to be seen again. Instead, a system that focused on reuniting families and bringing skilled labor workers to the United States was set into place. This new law allowed immigration from Asia and Africa to be more accepted and welcoming. This new act also deviated from the quota system that only allowed a certain number of people to immigrate from various countries per year.
  • National Endowment

    National Endowment
    This act established a fund that promotes the art and humanities in America. This was also set up by the House of Representatives to aide and promote scholarship.
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act

    Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    This act was promoted by Lyndon B. Johnson. It brought education to the attention of everyone. This act grants money to provide for bettering and furthering education. This was a part of the "War on Poverty".
  • More Draftees in Vietnam than Volunteers

    More Draftees in Vietnam than Volunteers
    The number of volunteers in the Vietnam War heavily outweighed the number of draftees. This was until 1965; Lyndon Johnson increased the number of draftees by over twice as much. The number of monthly draftees going from 17,000 to nearly 35,000 a month.
  • National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act

    National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act
    This was the first act to mandate standards on motor vehicle safety. It was established to serve as a guideline and precedent for laws governing motor vehicle transportation.
  • Congress Splits into "Hawks" and "Doves"

    Congress Splits into "Hawks" and "Doves"
    The Vietnam War made many changes in American society, one being, the division of "hawks" and "doves". These two groups split the country down the middle. The hawks believed that the Vietnam was crucial and America should do everything they could to end the war. However, the doves believed that the war was a waste of money, resources, and men. These two differing opinions led to the protests on many college campuses across the nation.
  • Air Quality Act

    Air Quality Act
    The Air Quality Act of 1967 set pollution restrictions and air quality standards for the atmosphere in America. This was a groundbreaking law because it was one of the first environmental laws set into place by the Federal Government.
  • Haight Ashbury District

    Haight Ashbury District
    This is a Hippies playground. It was a neighborhood founded in the late 60s that consist of multicultural restaurants, clothing, and people.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    In a scramble for victory, the Vietcong and Northern Vietnam armies launched a full scale invasion of southern Vietnam. This was a series of attacks on crucial cities that harbored foreign and American soldiers and supplies. Nearly 85,000 Vietcong and Northern Vietnam soldiers pushed back the southern forces gaining most of the territory they had lost from previous battles. The Vietcong also attacked capitols and major social areas.
  • My Lai Massacre

    My Lai Massacre
    The My Lai Massacre was the mass murder of over five hundred unarmed south Vietnamese citizens. This area was reported to house many Vietcong nationalists. Women, men, and children were all killed. Some were mutilated and raped before being killed. This was one of the worst incidents in the history of the Vietnam War. The soldiers covered up the incident before the report was filed over a year later by a man who was unaffiliated with the incident.
  • Robert F. Kennedy is Assassinated

    Robert F. Kennedy is Assassinated
    Brother of John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy, was shot in his hotel after winning the California Presidential Primary. He was considered the only person able to unite the nation during a time of War, across the world, and at home.
  • Nixon is Elected

    Nixon is Elected
    Nixon overcame Hubert Humphrey in one of the closest elections in recorded history. Nixon promised to unite the nation and work on the middle class and focus on poverty.
  • Tinker v. Des Moines School District

    Tinker v. Des Moines School District
    A public district in Iowa suspended three students because they refused to remove black armbands that were worn in protest of the Vietnam War. The students were staging a peaceful protest and were offered a choice either to be suspended or remove the bands. The three students refused to remove the armbands. The school then suspended the students. The parents sued the school on violation of the first amendment. The decision was that the armbands were a form of freedom of speech/expression.
  • Woodstock

    Woodstock
    A three day music festival that 50,000 were supposed to attend turn into a half million nightmares. This event took place on a farm with no running water or plumbing. This concert featured the hottest and most popular artists of the time period.
  • Neil Armstrong 1st Man on the Moon

    Neil Armstrong 1st Man on the Moon
    Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. Apollo 11 was the aircraft responsible for landing the first two people on the moon.
  • EPA is Created

    EPA is Created
    The Environmental Protection Agency was founded by president Nixon. One of the biggest issues that faced this administration was pollution. This agency was created to protect America's environment for tomorrow, not just today.
  • Kent State/ Jackson State Killings

    Kent State/ Jackson State Killings
    At Kent State University, four students were killed along with nine being injured as a result of National Guard personnel opening fire on a group of students protesting the Vietnam War. This caused hundreds of colleges across the nation and even more protest to brake out. Eleven days after the Kent State shooting, two more students are shot to death in a protest at Jackson State College. Twelve more were injured in this shooting. These shootings shocked the nation.
  • 26th Amendment Ratified

    26th Amendment Ratified
    As the war intensified, so did the desire of young draftees to be able to vote. The saying was, "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote". Many soldiers that opposed the war were drafted, and many of these men were to young to vote for representatives that aligned with their beliefs and ideals. After much protest and opposition to the status quo, the 26th Amendment was passed. This law gave all citizens of the United States the ability to vote at the age of 18 rather than 21 if they so chose.
  • Pentagon Papers

    Pentagon Papers
    The Pentagon Papers was a series of press releases that showed Americas involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • My Lai Becomes Public

    My Lai Becomes Public
    Ron Ridenhour, a soldier overheard about the incidents of My Lai. Although he took no part in the event, he campaigned to release the horrors that took place at My Lai. 14 men were charged by the Army for war crimes.
  • Paris Peace Accords

    Paris Peace Accords
    The United States, Vietcong, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam all signed the Paris Peace Accords that was the document set in place to end all conflict in Vietnam. In this agreement the US agreed to remove all troops and deconstruct all bases, and North Vietnam was to return all prisoners of war. All parties were to remove bases and troops from Laos and Cambodia. This agreement called a cease fire between the two neighbors and also stated that violence and invasion could not be used to reunify.
  • War Powers Act

    War Powers Act
    This law questioned the presidents power on his ability to enter the US into war. This act gave congress joint resolution. Congress now has the ability to fight the president on involvement in armed conflict.
  • Vietnam Unites as Communist

    Vietnam Unites as Communist
    Post Vietnam War resulted in the nation becoming a unified communist state. This was the result of French and American forces cutting their losses and leaving Vietnam.
  • Vietnam Memorial Erected

    Vietnam Memorial Erected
    This memorial was created to honor veterans of the Vietnam war, those who served in Vietnam and South East Asia, and all those who were unaccounted for. Although many soldiers were shamed and shunned for their involvement in the war, the memorial was created.