Civil rights timeline

of the

Brown v. Board of
Brown v.
Board of
of Topeka,

In the 1950s,
was widely
throughout the nation. In fact, it was required by law in most southern
states. In 1952, the Supreme Court heard a number of school-segregation
cases, including Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. It decided
unanimously in 1954 that segregation was unconstitutional, overthrowing
the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that had set the "separate but equal"

Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa Parks, a 43 year
old black seamstress,
was arrested in
Alabama, for refusing
to give up her seat near
the front of a bus to a
white man. The
following night, fifty
leaders of the Negro
community met at
Dexter ave. Baptist
Church to discuss the
issue. Among them was
the young minister, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The leaders organized the
Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would deprive the bus company of 65% of
its income, and cost Dr. King a $500 fine or 386 days in jail. He paid the
fine, and eight months later, the Supreme Court decided, based on the
school segregation cases, that bus segregation violated the constitution.

Desegregation at Little
Little Rock
Central High
School was to
begin the 1957
school year
On September 2,
the night before
the first day of
school, Governor
Faubus announced that he had ordered the Arkansas National Guard to
monitor the school the next day. When a group of nine black students arrived
at Central High on September 3, the were kept from entering by the National
Guardsmen. On September 20, judge Davies granted an injunction against
Governor Faubus and three days later the group of nine students returned to
Central High School. Although the students were not physically injured, a mob
of 1,000 townspeople prevented them from remaining at school. Finally,
President Eisenhower ordered 1,000 paratroopers and 10,000 National
Guardsmen to Little Rock, and on September 25, Central High School was

Sit-in Campaign
After having been refused
service at the lunch
counter of a Woolworth\'s
in Greensboro, North
Carolina, Joseph McNeill,
a Negro college student,
returned the next day with
three classmates to sit at
the counter until they were
served. They were not
served. The four students
returned to the lunch counter each day. When an article in the New York
Times drew attention to the students\' protest, they were joined by more
students, both black and white, and students across the nation were inspired
to launch similar protests.

Freedom Rides
In 1961, bus loads of people
waged a cross-country
campaign to try to end the
segregation of bus terminals.
The nonviolent protest,
however, was brutally
received at many stops along
the way.

Mississippi Riot
University of Mississippi Riot

President Kennedy ordered Federal Marshals to escort
James Meredith, the first black student to enroll at the
University of Mississippi, to campus. A riot broke out and
before the National Guard could arrive to reinforce the
marshals, two students were killed.

Birmingham, Alabama was
one of the most severly
segregated cities in the 1960s.
Black men and women held
sit-ins at lunch counters
where they were refused
service, and "kneel-ins" on
church steps where they were
denied entrance. Hundreds of
demonstrators were fined and
imprisoned. In 1963, Dr. King, the Reverend Abernathy and the Reverend
Shuttlesworth lead a protest march in Birmingham. The protestors were met
with policemen and dogs. The three ministers were arrested and taken to
Southside Jail.

March on Washington
March on Washington
Despite worries that few
people would attend and that
violence could erupt, A.
Philip Randolpf and Bayard
Rustin organized the historic
event that would come to
symbolize the civil rights
movement. A reporter from
theTimes wrote, "no one
could ever remember an
invading army quite as gentle
as the two hundred thousand
civil rights marchers who
occupied Washington."

Bloody Sunday

Outraged over the
killing of a
demonstrator by a
state trooper in
Marion, Alabama, the
black community of
Marion decided to
hold a march. Martin
Luther King agreed to
lead the marchers on
Sunday, March 7,
from Selma to
Montgomery, the state
capital, where they
would appeal directly
to governor Wallace to
stop police brutality
and call attention to their struggle for suffrage. When Governor Wallace
refused to allow the march, Dr. King went to Washington to speak with
President Johnson, delaying the demonstration until March 8. However, the
people of Selma could not wait and they began the march on Sunday. When
the marchers reached the city line, they found a posse of state troopers
waiting for them. As the demonstrators crossed the bridge leading out of
Selma, they were ordered to disperse, but the troopers did not wait for their
warning to be headed. They immediately attacked the crowd of people who
had bowed their heads in prayer. Using tear gas and batons, the troopers
chased the demonstrators to a black housing project, where they continued
to beat the demonstrators as well