The Civil Rights Movement
The Civil rights movement is the movement which aimed to get rid of racial discrimination in America. It is generally accepted that the civil rights movement started in 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, this paved the way for desegregation on a larger-scale. Timeline
May 17 1954:
Segregation was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
August 1955:
14 year-old Emmett Till is kidnapped and brutally murdered whilst on holiday in Missisipi for allegedly whistling at a white woman in the general store. Two white men are arrested, tried and then acquitted by a jury comprised only of white people. In a magazine article written after their acquittal the two alleged killers boast about the murder.
December 1 1955
Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white person, defying a southern custom of the time. Rosa Parks was arrested for this offence triggering a bus boycott which lasted over a year until buses were desegregated in December 21 1956.
September 1957
At a formerly all-white school nine black students are barred from entereing the school on the orders of the governor. The President sends in the national guard and federal troops to resolve the situation.
February 1 1960
Four black students begin protesting at a Woolworths lunch counter after being refused service. This triggers many similar, non-violent protests throughout the South.
October 1 1962
James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll in the University of Mississippi, causing riots and violence to break out in that state. President Kennedy sends in 5,000 troops
April 16 1963
Martin Luther King is arrested and jailed after anti segregation protests in Birmingham. Whilst in jail he writes a letter saying that individuals have a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws.
August 28 1963
Martin Luther King delivers his famous 'I have a dream' speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, in front of 200,000 people
January 23 1964
The 24th amendment is introduced to abolish the poll tax which was itroduced in 11 southern states to make it difficult for poor blacks to vote.
July 2 1964
President Johnson signs the civil Rights Act of 1964, it prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, colour, religion on national origin.
March 7 1965
Afro-american protesters begin to march on Montgomery but are stopped by a police blockade. Police use tear gas, whips and clubs on protesters resulting in 50 marchers being hospitalized. the incident came to be known as 'Bloody Sunday'.
June 12 1967
The Supreme Court rules that banning interracial marriage is unconstituational. The sixteen states where interracial marriage was still banned are forced to revise their laws.
April 4 1968
Martin Luther King is shot, aged 39, as he stands on his hotel balcony.
April 11 1968
President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act 1968, further strengthening anti-discrimination laws. Hel[ful Websites:Dot Point Reference Guide:
  • The Civil Rights movement aimed to rid america of racial discrimination
  • It is generally accepted to have started in May 1954 when segregation was ruled unconstitutional
  • The Civil Rights Movement first began to gain national attention in the 1960's
  • Laws in many Southern states prevented blacks and whites from living as equals
  • Martin Luther King jr.'s famous speech was pivotal in the civil rights movement as it drew international attention to the cause
  • Many african-americans who defied segregation customs were beaten or even killed, whites who were guilty of these offences were rarely punished.