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Civil Rights Movement Timeline


Civil Rights Movement Timeline: Three of the most famous leaders during the Civil Rights Movement era were Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Facts about Civil Rights Movement Timeline
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information via the Civil Rights Movement Timeline.

1857: The Dred Scott Decision ruled that freed African-Americans were not citizens and had no right to sue in a federal court.

1865: The series of laws called the Black Codes were passed to restrict the ex-slaves new found freedom.

1866: The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed to protect ex-slaves from legislation such as the Black Codes

1868: The 14th Amendment relating to Civil Rights nullified part of the Dred Scott decision and prohibiting state laws that denied citizens equal protection under the law.

1875: The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was a law protecting all citizens in their legal and civil rights, but it was not enforced, and the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1883

1880's: The Jim Crow Laws restricted the rights of African Americans

1880's: The political belief  known as Black Populism emerged. It was a movement to increase the political power of black farmers and laborers, working for legislation in their interest. 

1895: The Atlanta Compromise was the name given to the famous speech made by Booker T. Washington urged racial cooperation

1896: The Plessy vs. Ferguson Case resulted in the  Supreme Court deciding that the "separate but equal" facilities satisfied the guarantees of 14th Amendment, thus giving legal sanction to "Jim Crow" segregation laws.

1905: The Niagara Movement was founded by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter and was the first organized African American protest campaign in the 20th century

1908: The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was founded to  strive for the elimination of racial discrimination and Civil Rights.

1914: Marcus Garvey founded of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the Black Nationalist movement

1930: The Nation of Islam (NOI) religious movement was founded in Detroit, by Wallace Fard Muhammad. Members, later referred to as the Black Muslims, were given Arabic names to replace those that had originated in slavery.

1948: President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948 abolishing racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces leading to the end of segregation in the services

1954: The modern African-American Civil Rights Movement begins (1954 - 1970).

1954: The segregation practices in the U.S. school systems were challenged in  the Brown vs Board of Education case by the NAACP's chief counsel, Thurgood Marshall. The result of the legal case was that the Supreme Court banned the practice of school segregation, effectively overturning the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson.

1955: Rosa Parks was arrested after she refused to give up her seat on a racially segregated bus. Rosa Parks became known as the "the first lady of civil rights"

1955: Martin Luther King Jr. became the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which was organized due to protests against the incident involving Rosa Parks, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.

1957: Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to ensure that all African Americans could exercise their right to vote.

1957: Dr Martin Luther King became President of the  Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)

1957: The Little Rock Nine crisis regarding the refusal for the admission of 9 African American students to the racially segregated Little Rock Central High. President Eisenhower sent in the National Guard to enforce integration at Little Rock's Central High School in the face of violent White opposition to de-segregation.

1960: Elijah Muhammad, original name Elijah Poole, founded the Nation of Islam and advocated black nationalism and black separatism and called for the creation of a independent black states on American soil. His most famous disciples included civil rights activists Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan.

1960: Lunch counter sit-in by four college students in Greensboro, N.C. begins and spreads throughout the South.

1960: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded and organized 'Sit-ins' and throughout the Deep South.

1961: The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organizes Freedom Rides into the South to test new Interstate Commerce Commission regulations and court orders barring segregation in interstate transportation.

1962: Fannie Lou Hamer was evicted from her farm after registering to vote

1962: Mississippi race riots on the "Ole Miss" campus and the town of Oxford when the registration of the first black student, James Meredith, was refused

1963: Dr. Martin Luther King organized a massive peace protest in the heavily segregated city of Birmingham, Alabama. The Birmingham Peace Protest resulted in violence and. Dr. Martin Luther King was arrested together with hundreds of other protestors. Whilst imprisoned, MLK wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail

1963: Dr. Martin Luther King meets with President Kennedy who gives his full support to the civil rights movement.

1963: On June 19, 1963, President Kennedy sent a comprehensive civil rights bill to Congress.

1963: The March on Washington, on August 28, 1963, in which Dr. Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd estimated at 250,000 that joined in

1963: President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963

1963: Elijah Muhammad suspended Malcolm X from the Nation of Islam who he felt did not sufficiently support the civil rights movement

1964: Malcolm X founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which advocated black identity and held that racism, not the white race, was the greatest enemy of African Americans.

1964: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banning segregation and discrimination based on race, nationality, or gender.

1964: The Freedom Summer campaign  was organized by activists of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

1964: The Harlem Riots began on July 16, 1964, when a police officer killed a young black boy in Harlem.  The Harlem Riots led to one death, 144 injuries and 519 arrests

1965: Malcolm X was shot to death on February 21, 1965 by Nation of Islam members

1965: The Selma March, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, took place on 25 March 1965 from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama

1965: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to safeguard the right to vote of Black Americans and bans the use of literacy tests.

1965: The Watts Riots broke out in an African American neighborhood in Los Angeles and led to 34 deaths, 1,000 injuries and damage totaling $40 million.

1966: Stokely Carmichael, a civil rights activist, made the black nationalism rallying slogan, Black Power famous. The Black Power movement included organizations such as the Black Panther Party.

1966: Martin Luther King Jr. appointed Jesse Jackson as director of Operation Breadbasket, the economic arm of the SCLC.

1967: In Newark, on July 12, 1967, police beat a black cab driver while trying to arrest him. This sparked the Newark Riots in which 23 people were killed and nearly $11 million of damage was caused

1967: Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title for resisting military draft as a Muslim minister in the Nation of Islam.

1967: The  Detroit Riots broke out and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in federal troops to help stop the shooting, looting and burning.

1967: State laws forbidding inter-racial marriage were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

1968: Dr. Martin Luther King is killed on April 4, 1968 by James Earl Ray as he stood on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee - refer to MLK Assassination

1968: Senator Robert Kennedy was shot and killed on June 6, 1968 in a Los Angeles hotel whilst campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president

1968: The Black Power salute was made by the African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Mexico  Olympics

1968: The death of Dr. Martin Luther King, the rise of Black revolutionaries such as the Black Panthers, together with the violence and destruction of the race riots, effectively ended the civil rights movement.

US American History
1945-1993: Cold War Era

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