American Civil Rights Timeline

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Civil Rights in America spanned more than the years 1945 to 1968. However, it was after these years that fundamentally important events took place regarding civil rights and they were to gain a place in history. TheMontgomery Bus Boycott, the incident at Little Rock High School, Martin Luther King, the bombing of the church in Birmingham, Black Power, the work done by presidents Truman and Johnson in particular and thecivil rights acts  all occurred after 1945 and proved vital in the advances made by the civil rights movements.

1942 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) established.
1946 The Supreme Court declared segregation on buses that crossed state borders was illegal.

President Truman established a Committee on Civil Rights.

1948 Discrimination in the armed forces was banned.
1952 This was the first year since 1881 without a lynching.
1954 The Supreme Court declared segregation in schools to be unconstitutional.

The last all-black units in the armed forces were disbanded.

1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott began after the arrest of Rosa Parks.
1957 Dr Martin Luther King became President of the Southern ChristianLeadership Conference.

The Little Rock High School clash occurs and Eisenhower had to use Federal troops to enforce the law.

Civil Rights Act passed.

1960 First student sit-ins against segregation at lunch counters occurs.

SNCC formed – Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee.

Elijah Muhammad called for the creation of a separate state for blacks.

1961 The arrest of the Freedom Riders in the South.
1962 James Meredith’s attempt to attend Mississippi University was only successful as a result of Federal troops being used.
1963 NAACP leader – Medgar Evers – was assassinated.

250,000 civil rights protesters marched in Washington

Four black children were killed in the Birmingham church bombing – the arrested white man was charged with the unlawful possession of dynamite but not murder. Only some years later were the guilty brought to trial for murder.

1964 Riots in Harlem (New York), Chicago, Rochester + Philadelphia.

A Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress.

Dr. Martin Luther King was awarded the Noble Peace Prize.

1965 Malcolm X was assassinated.

A civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery was lead by Dr Martin Luther King.

A Voting Rights Act was passed which in theory made it illegal for anyone to restrict the right of anybody to vote.

A violent riot in Watts, Los Angeles, left 34 dead.

1966 The idea of Black Power was introduced by Stokely Carmichael.
1967 State laws forbidding inter-racial marriage were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Thurgood Marshall became the first Black American to be appointed to the Supreme Court by Texan president Lyndon Johnson.

1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated. The man convicted of his murder – James Earl Ray – was sentenced to 99 years prison but he denied having anything to do with the murder.

At the Mexico Olympics, a Black Power protest was made at the medal ceremony for the men’s 400 meters by Tommy Smith and John Carlos.

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