The Civil Rights Movement

By JDV96
  • Signing of Executive Order 9981

    Signing of Executive Order 9981
    Harry S.Truman signs Executive Order 9981. That order states, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin." President Truman decides to end segregation in the armed forces and the civil service through administrative action (executive order) rather than through legislation.
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  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    The Supreme Court rules on the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans. agreeing that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. It is a memorable victory for NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood would later become the nation's first African American justice.
  • Teen boy brutally murdered

    Teen boy brutally murdered
    Fourteen-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till is visiting family in Mississippi when he is kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot, and dumped in the Tallahatchie River for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two white men, J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, are arrested for the murder and acquitted by an all-white jury. They later boast about committing the murder in a Look magazine interview. The case becomes a cause célèbre of the civil rights movement.
  • Rosa Parks refuses to move

    Rosa Parks refuses to move
    In Montgomery, Alabama, NAACP member Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person on a bus. For a year after that, there was a bus boycott that didn't end until December 21, 1956. On that day, buses were finally desegregated.
  • North Carolina A&T sit-in

     North Carolina A&T sit-in
    Four black students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Although they are refused service, they are allowed to stay at the counter. This event triggered similar sit-ins. Six months later the original four protesters are served lunch at the same Woolworth's counter. Student sit-ins would be effective throughout the Deep South in integrating parks, swimming pools, libraries, and other public facilities.
  • SNCC is founded

    SNCC is founded
    The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded at Shaw University, providing young blacks with a place in the civil rights movement. The SNCC later grows into a more radical organization, especially under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael. SNCC's major contribution was in its field work, organizing voter registration drives all over the South, especially in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
  • Freedom Riders

    Freedom Riders
    In the Spring and Summer of 1961, volunteers took trips around to test new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities. Volunteers that participated in doing this were called "freedom riders", and they were attacked by mobs along the way. The program, sponsored by The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), involves more than 1,000 volunteers, black and white.
  • MLK arrested in Birmingham

    MLK arrested in Birmingham
    Dr. Martin Luther King, is arrested in Birmingham, AL, for contempt of court and parading without a permit. He had come to Birmingham in an attempt to integrate public facilities in accordance with Supreme Court rulings. While in jail he composed his response to a public letter from 8 clergymen (who were white) criticizing him for breaking the law. He writes his seminal "Letter from Birmingham Jail,"
  • NAACP secretary murdered

    NAACP secretary murdered
    Mississippi's NAACP field secretary, 37-year-old Medgar Evers, is murdered outside his home. Byron De La Beckwith is tried twice in 1964, both trials resulting in hung juries. Thirty years later he is convicted for murdering Evers.
  • "I Have a Dream"speech delivered

    "I Have a Dream"speech delivered
    "I Have a Dream" is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. It was delivered to over 200,000 people.
  • Johnson signs Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Johnson signs Civil Rights Act of 1964
    President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The law also provides the federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation.
  • Civil-rights works found dead

    Civil-rights works found dead
    The bodies of three civil-rights workers are found in an earthen dam, six weeks into a federal investigation backed by President Johnson. James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, had been working to register black voters in Mississippi, and, on June 21, had gone to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on speeding charges, incarcerated for several hours, and then released after dark into the hands of the KKK, who murdered them.
  • Malcom X shot to death

    Malcom X shot to death
    Malcolm X, black nationalist and founder of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is shot to death. It is believed the assailants are members of the Black Muslim faith, which Malcolm had recently abandoned in favor of orthodox Islam. He was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers, he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.
  • "Bloody Sunday"

    "Bloody Sunday"
    Blacks begin a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights but are stopped at the Pettus Bridge by a police blockade. Fifty marchers are hospitalized after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them. The incident is dubbed "Bloody Sunday" by the media. The march is considered the catalyst for pushing through the voting rights act five months later.
  • Congress passes Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Congress passes Voting Rights Act of 1965
    Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and other such requirements that were used to restrict black voting are made illegal. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new black voters had been registered.
  • Watts Riots

    Watts Riots
    A routine identity check by police on two black men in a car sparks the Watts riots in Los Angeles, which leave 34 people dead, 1,032 injured and cause more than 40 millions dollars' worth of damage. Sergeant Ben Dunn said "The streets of Watts resembled an all-out war zone in some far-off foreign country, it bore no resemblance to the United States of America." Mainstream white America viewed those actively participating in the riot as criminals destroying and looting their own neighborhood.
  • Black Panther Party founded

    Black Panther Party founded
    Founded in Oakland, California by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale on October 15, 1966, the organization initially set forth a doctrine calling primarily for the protection of African-American neighborhoods from police brutality. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,”. The Black Panther Party dissolved in 1982 when the member count dwindled down to only 27.
  • "black power" phrase coined

    "black power" phrase coined
    The phrase "black power" was coined by Stokely Carmichael, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He defines it as an assertion of black pride.
  • Loving v. Virgnia

    Loving v. Virgnia
    In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court rules that prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional. Sixteen states that still banned interracial marriage at the time are forced to revise their laws. This was a landmark case.
  • Martin Luther King Junior, shot dead

    Martin Luther King Junior, shot dead
    (Memphis, Tenn.) Martin Luther King, at age 39, is shot as he stands on the balcony outside his hotel room. Escaped convict and committed racist James Earl Ray is convicted of the crime. About 22,000 people attend his funeral.