Homer Plessy challenge an 1890 Louisiana Law. The Supreme Court held that “separate but equal” facilities for White and Black did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. “Separate but equal” doctrine that would become the constitutional basis for segregation. Sparked a look at segregation happening in other institutions, one quite notably being education.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP founded in 1909) begins challenging segregation in graduate and secondary schools lead by Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston.
State of Missouri ex rel. Gaines vs. Canada
Supreme Court decided in favor of Lloyd Gaines, a black student who had been refused admission to the University of Missouri Law School. Case set a precedent for other states to attempt to “equalize” Black school facilities, rather than integrate them.
Sweatt vs. Painter
Supreme Court held that the U.T. Law School, far superior in its offerings and resources to the separate Black law school, which had been hastily established in a downtown basement, must admit a Black student, Heman Sweatt. Emerged the opinion that “separate but equal is inherently unequal.”
Brown vs. Board of Education filed in Federal District Court
Brown vs. Board of Education Trial
Appeal of the Brown decision
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund files an appeal of the Brown decision in the Supreme Court. In the weeks that follow appeals in other cases around the country challenging segregated schools are also filed in the Court.
Plessy vs. Ferguson Overturned by Supreme Court
The Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and declared that racial segregation in public schools violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and therefore unconstitutional. In the wake of the decision, some other school districts began to desegregate their schools voluntarily.
Brown vs. Board of Education II
Resistance to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling was so widespread that that the court issued a second decision, Brown II, ordering school districts to integrate “will all deliberate speed.”
Beginning of the Little Rock Nine
Nine students register to be the first African Americans to attend Little Rock Central High School for the 57-58 school year
Governor Orval Faubus announced that he would call in the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the African American students’ entry to Central High.
Little Rock Nine Arrive at School
Eight of the students arrive at the school together, with the other arriving alone. Arkansas National Guard were standing there to prevent the students from entering.
Judge Davies removes the guards. Little Rock Police Department sent to keep order.
Little Rock Police Department
Little Rock Police Department escorted the nine students inside the building. The mobs and riots increased outside the school.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and places them in charge of the Arkansas National Guardsmen on duty.
1st Full Day of School
Escorted by the troops, the nine students have their first full day of school.
Minnijean Brown was expelled for retaliating against attacks from white students.
Governor Faubus closed all Little Rock Nine’s schools to try to prevent African Americans to attend the school.
Ernest Green became the first African American graduate of Central High. Martin Luther King Jr. attended the graduation ceremonies.
After a Supreme Court Ruling, Little Rock’s high schools reopened.
Greensboro Sit-In Begins to Form
4 students entered Woolworth store and sat down at the “white only” lunch counter, ordered, but were denied service. They remained peacefully seated at the counter until the store closed early at 5.
25 men and 4 women returned to Woolworth store sitting from 11am to 3pm while constantly being heckled by patrons. They were still denied service. NAACP voted to support the students’ efforts.
More Students Join
More than 60 students returned for Day 3, filling every available lunch counter seat.
More than 300 students participated on Day 4. 3 white students join their efforts. Police keep crowds in check. Students moved the protest to a second lunch counter down the street, S.H. Kress.
Lunch counter filled with 50 white males in opposition of the sit-ins. Remaining areas were filled by protesting students. Some arrests were made, and the store closed early.
Sit-In Gains More Involvement
Over 1,400 students met at A&T auditorium and voted to continue the protest and then headed to the Woolworth store, filling every seat at the store opening. A bomb threat was called in and the crowd moved to the Kress lunch counter.
Segregated Stores Still
Woolworth and Kress stores reopened but were still segregated.
Advisory Committee met with downtown businesses, but they still refused to integrate.
Sit-In Movement Resume
Students resumed their protests at Woolworth and Kress stores. At night more than 1,200 pledged to continue the sit-ins.
45 students were arrested for trespassing as they sat at the Kress store lunch counter.
Change is Coming
Woolworth manager informed Advisory Committee that the store would soon serve all properly dressed and well-behaved people.
Sit-In Claimed a "Success"
4 students are the first African Americans to eat at the lunch counter. The Kress counter opened that day as well.
Victory- Woolworths is Desegregated
Woolworths opens as a desegregated store.
By now, over 70,000 participated in sit-ins. The lunch counter sit-ins lead to kneel-ins at segregated churches, sleep-ins at motel lobbies, swim-ins at pools, wade-ins at beaches, read-ins at libraries, play-ins at parks and watch-ins at movies.
President Bill Clinton awarded the Little Rock Nine with the Congressional Gold Medal.