Timeline of the civil rights movement

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This is a timeline of the civil rights movement in the United States, a nonviolent mid-20th century freedom movement to gain legal equality and the enforcement of constitutional rights for people of color. The goals of the movement included securing equal protection under the law, ending legally institutionalized racial discrimination, and gaining equal access to public facilities, education reform, fair housing, and the ability to vote.





















The Edmund Pettus Bridge on "Bloody Sunday" in 1965. Bloody Sunday-officers await demonstrators.jpeg
The Edmund Pettus Bridge on "Bloody Sunday" in 1965.





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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Civil rights movement</span> 1954–1968 U.S. nonviolent social movement

The civil rights movement was a nonviolent social movement and campaign from 1954 to 1968 in the United States to abolish legalized racial segregation, discrimination, and disenfranchisement in the country. The movement had its origins in the Reconstruction era during the late 19th century and had its modern roots in the 1940s, although the movement made its largest legislative gains in the 1960s after years of direct actions and grassroots protests. The social movement's major nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience campaigns eventually secured new protections in federal law for the civil rights of all Americans.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Montgomery bus boycott</span> 1950s American protest against racial segregation

The Montgomery bus boycott was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. It was a foundational event in the civil rights movement in the United States. The campaign lasted from December 5, 1955—the Monday after Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for her refusal to surrender her seat to a white person—to December 20, 1956, when the federal ruling Browder v. Gayle took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws that segregated buses were unconstitutional.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee</span> Largest student-led civil rights organization during the American Civil Rights Movement

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was the principal channel of student commitment in the United States to the civil rights movement during the 1960s. Emerging in 1960 from the student-led sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee, the Committee sought to coordinate and assist direct-action challenges to the civic segregation and political exclusion of African Americans. From 1962, with the support of the Voter Education Project, SNCC committed to the registration and mobilization of black voters in the Deep South. Affiliates such as the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the Lowndes County Freedom Organization in Alabama also worked to increase the pressure on federal and state government to enforce constitutional protections.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Southern Christian Leadership Conference</span> African-American civil rights organization

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. SCLC is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr., who had a large role in the American civil rights movement.

Boynton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court. The case overturned a judgment convicting an African American law student for trespassing by being in a restaurant in a bus terminal which was "whites only". It held that racial segregation in public transportation was illegal because such segregation violated the Interstate Commerce Act, which broadly forbade discrimination in interstate passenger transportation. It moreover held that bus transportation was sufficiently related to interstate commerce to allow the United States federal government to regulate it to forbid racial discrimination in the industry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">E. D. Nixon</span> American civil rights leader (1899–1987)

Edgar Daniel Nixon, known as E. D. Nixon, was an American civil rights leader and union organizer in Alabama who played a crucial role in organizing the landmark Montgomery bus boycott there in 1955. The boycott highlighted the issues of segregation in the South, was upheld for more than a year by black residents, and nearly brought the city-owned bus system to bankruptcy. It ended in December 1956, after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the related case, Browder v. Gayle (1956), that the local and state laws were unconstitutional, and ordered the state to end bus segregation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund</span> Organization in New York, United States

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is a leading United States civil rights organization and law firm based in New York City.

This is a timeline of African-American history, the part of history that deals with African Americans.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Segregation academy</span> Segregationist private schools in the US

Segregation academies are private schools in the Southern United States that were founded in the mid-20th century by white parents to avoid having their children attend desegregated public schools. They were founded between 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, and 1976, when the court ruled similarly about private schools.

Browder v. Gayle, 142 F. Supp. 707 (1956), was a case heard before a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on Montgomery and Alabama state bus segregation laws. The panel consisted of Middle District of Alabama Judge Frank Minis Johnson, Northern District of Alabama Judge Seybourn Harris Lynne, and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Rives. The main plaintiffs in the case were Aurelia Browder, Claudette Colvin, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith. Jeanetta Reese had originally been a plaintiff in the case, but intimidation by segregationists caused her to withdraw in February. She falsely claimed she had not agreed to the lawsuit, which led to an unsuccessful attempt to disbar Fred Gray for supposedly improperly representing her.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fred Gray (attorney)</span> American attorney and activist

Fred David Gray is an American civil rights attorney, preacher, activist, and state legislator from Alabama. He handled many prominent civil rights cases, such as Browder v. Gayle, and was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1970, along with Thomas Reed, both from Tuskegee. They were the first black state legislators in Alabama in the 20th century. He served as the president of the National Bar Association in 1985, and in 2001 was elected as the first African-American President of the Alabama State Bar.

The Albany Movement was a desegregation and voters' rights coalition formed in Albany, Georgia, in November 1961. This movement was founded by local black leaders and ministers, as well as members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The groups were assisted by Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). It was meant to draw attention to the brutally enforced racial segregation practices in Southwest Georgia. However, many leaders in SNCC were fundamentally opposed to King and the SCLC's involvement. They felt that a more democratic approach aimed at long-term solutions was preferable for the area other than King's tendency towards short-term, authoritatively-run organizing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johnnie Carr</span>

Johnnie Rebecca Daniels Carr was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from 1955 until her death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Black school</span> U.S. educational institutions for Black people (late-1860s–1960s)

Black schools, also referred to as "colored schools", were racially segregated schools in the United States that originated after the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. The phenomenon began in the late 1860s during Reconstruction, when Southern states under biracial Republican governments created public schools for the formerly enslaved. They were typically segregated. After 1877, conservative whites took control across the South. They continued the black schools, but at a much lower funding rate than white schools.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Freedom Riders</span> American civil rights activists of the 1960s

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated Southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v. Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The Southern states had ignored the rulings and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Sherrod</span> American civil rights activist (1937–2022)

Charles Melvin Sherrod was an American minister and civil rights activist. During the civil rights movement, Sherrod helped found the Albany Movement while serving as field secretary for southwest Georgia for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He also participated in the Selma Voting Rights Movement and in many other campaigns of the civil rights movement of that era.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">School integration in the United States</span> Racial desegregation process

In the United States, school integration is the process of ending race-based segregation within American public and private schools. Racial segregation in schools existed throughout most of American history and remains an issue in contemporary education. During the Civil Rights Movement school integration became a priority, but since then de facto segregation has again become prevalent.

The history of the 1954 to 1968 American civil rights movement has been depicted and documented in film, song, theater, television, and the visual arts. These presentations add to and maintain cultural awareness and understanding of the goals, tactics, and accomplishments of the people who organized and participated in this nonviolent movement.

Oretha Castle Haley was an American civil rights activist in New Orleans where she challenged the segregation of facilities and promoted voter registration. She came from a working-class background, yet was able to enroll in the Southern University of New Orleans, SUNO, then a center of student activism. She joined the protest marches and went on to become a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement.

Prior to the civil rights movement in South Carolina, African Americans in the state had very few political rights. South Carolina briefly had a majority-black government during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War, but with the 1876 inauguration of Governor Wade Hampton III, a Democrat who supported the disenfranchisement of blacks, African Americans in South Carolina struggled to exercise their rights. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and intimidation kept African Americans from voting, and it was virtually impossible for someone to challenge the Democratic Party, which ran unopposed in most state elections for decades. By 1940, the voter registration provisions written into the 1895 constitution effectively limited African-American voters to 3,000—only 0.8 percent of those of voting age in the state.


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Further reading