Social Events Timeline

  • Integration

    President Harry S. Truman signed the Executive Order 9981, which ended segregation in the military; it created a cultural acceptance of racial integration and equality.
  • McCarthyism

    As the Red Scare spread in the U.S., Joseph McCarthy accused government officials and celebrities of supporting Communism without evidence. It created even more fears of communism and destroyed innocent people’s careers and reputations.
  • Civil Rights Movement

    The Civil Rights Movement was broadcasted on television. People were able to be more aware of the violence non-violent protestors' experiences. It detailed horrors of the movement and demonstrated the need for reform. The most iconic figure was Martin Luther King Jr. who advocated the use of non-violent ways of protest. He became the leader of the SCLC.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    This Supreme Court case overturned the ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson, which established “separate but equal”, causing public schools to be segregated. The Supreme Court, however, did not set a deadline for integration in public schools, which postponed desegregation.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) became known for organizing the boycott of public buses and encouraging followers to use other forms of transportation or walk. The boycott was successful, setting up precedents for future civil rights protests and boycotts.
  • 1960 Presidential Debate

    It was the first debate that was shown on television, changing the way of viewing candidates. John F. Kennedy won the debate and later the election.
  • Freedom Rides of 1961

    The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was involved in the events in which students from the North traveled in integrated buses to the South. They were met violence as well as resistance in the South. The events challenged federal enforcement of desegregation laws on interstate buses.
  • March on Washington

    It was a protest for civil rights. It was controversial, so President John F. Kennedy urged to postpone the protest; he later relented and urged the use of caution. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech was televised. It encouraged racial harmony in the nation. The SNCC along with other groups helped to organize the protest.
  • “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. organized a sit-in protest of the city’s ban on sit-in protests. He along with others who participated in the protest were arrested. In jail, he wrote the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, in which he informed his colleagues to be patient for reform. It is considered important in the movement and ultimate passage of the Civil Rights legislation.
  • Kennedy’s Assassination

    He was assassinated in Dallas, Texas during a political rally. Vice president Lyndon B. Johnson became president and had responsibility to continue Johnson’s political domestic policy agenda.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Civil Rights Legislation)

    Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation and discrimination in public places.
  • Great Society Program

    It was established by President Johnson, seeking to attack as well as address poverty. Some programs included War on Poverty, education, medicine, and medicaid.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Civil Rights Legislation)

    It was passed to outlaw black disenfranchisement from voting, such as literacy tests. It also mandated federal oversight of elections.
  • Delano Table Grape Strike (Cesar Chavez)

    It was a strike to expand rights for Hispanic farm laborers that was led by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW). The UFW also used non-violent protests for Hispanic laborers’ equal rights.
  • The 1968 Presidential Election (Democratic Convention)

    The election is filled with turmoil. The Democratic Party did not have a clear front runner. Demonstrators attempted to disrupt the Democratic Convention and confronted the police. They believed that they could receive nation support by inciting the police to action; however, Americans were horrified. These issues resulted in a transition from the Civil Rights Movement to the Republicans claiming the White House. Nixon won the presidential election.
  • Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

    His assassination was followed with riots despite using non-violent responses. It further fragmented the Civil Rights Movement as the more aggressive Black Power efforts began.
  • Assassination of Robert Kennedy

    He was assassinated after a victory celebration of his win of California’s Democratic primary election. It is believed that if he was not killed, his popularity would have resulted in his nomination for Presidency.