Civil Rights Timeline

Civil Rights Timeline

The African American Civil Rights Movement wasn't just a major societal upheaval for the United States, it was one of the first to be seen on the TV screen. African Americans were supposed to have equal rights in America after the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, however they still faced great discrimination when it came to employment, transportation, voting, housing, and more. There was turmoil brewing for decades because of this inequality, which eventually lead to the African American
1954 - The historic court case of Brown v. Board of Education is often seen as the beginning of the Civil Rights era. The plaintiffs claimed that the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, was acting unconstitutionally by placing white and African American students in different schools, an act referred to as segregation. The court eventually agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered to have segregration in schools phased out as quickly as possible.

1955 - Rosa Parks was ordered to give up her seat in the front of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and famously refused to do so. Her arrest lead to the organized boycott of the Montgomery city bus system, which lead to an 80% loss of revenue. This boycott was lead by one Martin Luther King, Jr., a future leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

1960 - Four college students from a segregated, all-black technical college, sat at a whites-only lunch counter in a Woolworth's in protest of the discriminatory policy. This spread to other stores, then to other cities, eventually becoming a phenomenon in a number of states.

1961 - Another famous Civil Rights activity were Freedom Rides, the first of which started on May 4, 1961. Civil Rights activists rode together on buses into the deep South, intent on testing out the federal ban on segregation of seating for inter-state travelers. Sadly, this lead to many physical attacks upon the Freedom Riders, from assault to the firebombing of one of the buses.

1963, Spring - The Birmingham Campaign became internationally famous when Time published pictures of peaceful activists being sprayed with high-pressure hoses, as well as the news of the arrest of many of the protesters, among which was Martin Luther King, Jr.

1963, August - The March on Washington was a planned event where many different organizations marched into Washington with the goals including equal employment opportunities and integrated education.

1965, February - Malcolm X, verbal proponent of African American Civil Rights, was assassinated in Manhattan. While some accused Malcolm X of encouraging racism and violence, he is still considered one of the most significant African Americans of the 1960's.

1965, August - President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a major victory for civil rights in America. All additional taxes and tests for voting, most of which were intended to make it hard or impossible for African Americans to cast votes, were banned by this act.

1968 - The Civil Rights Movement lost another important figure to violence, as Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. He was known for his non-violent approaches to solving the race issues of the United States.

Some say the movement still has not officially succeeded, citing events like the beating of Rodney King. In this case, Rodney King was seen being needlessly brutalized by LAPD officers on video tape; the acquittal of the officers involved despite the evidence lead to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Still, most consider the African American Civil Rights Movement to have officially ended in 1968.