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Timeline of the American Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States began to gain prominence in the late 1940s. In 1948 President Truman signed the Executive Order 9981, which declared there would be equal treatment and opportunity for all persons regardless of race or color in the armed services. This was the first step in creating a nation filled with equality. Throughout the passing years, there were many events that were milestones in the Civil Rights Movement. Below are some of the most well known events that helped shaped history.

1954 – Brown vs. Board of Education

1955 – Montgomery Bus Boycott

  • Montgomery Bus Boycott - Articles, historical timelines and biographies of important people who made the Montgomery Bus Boycott a critical piece of US history.
  • Rosa Parks - One of the most famous people to come out of the Civil rights movement, Rosa Parks was a key factor in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. - The face of the Civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. helped to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1957 – Desegregation at Little Rock

1960 – Sit-in Campaign

  • Sit-in Campaign - The basis of sit-in campaigns resulted from students "sitting" at lunch counters until they were acknowledged and served food.
  • Nashville, TN Sit-in Campaigns - African Americans would sit and wait at the lunch counters in a very polite, non-violent manner. If police arrested them for not leaving, a new group of African Americans would take their place.

1961 – Freedom Rides

  • Freedom Riders - The Congress on Racial Equality organized these techniques by placing black and white volunteers next to each other on buses and other forms of public transportation.
  • Freedom Rides - See how the freedom riders played a part in the Civil rights movement timeline.

1962 – Mississippi Riot

  • Mississippi Riot - Learn how the state of Mississippi rallied against a federal court's decision to allow one black man to attend an all white school.
  • James H. Meredith - This man was a crucial figure in the American Civil rights movement. By having a federal court approve his case to attend an all white school in Mississippi, riots broke out and in turn paved the way for equality in the US.

1963 – Birmingham

  • Birmingham Demonstrations - Read about the efforts Martin Luther King Jr. and citizens hoping for change took to ensure equality for all.

1963 – March on Washington

  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom - With an estimated 250,000 people in attendance, this was truly a landmark event for the Civil rights movement. Both black and white people gathered together to witness Martin Luther King Jr. give his historical "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • "I Have a Dream" - Read the words, written and spoken by Martin Luther King Jr., which united a nation.

1964 – Freedom Summer

  • Freedom Schools - In the summer of l964, forty-one Freedom Schools opened in the churches, on the back porches, and under the trees of Mississippi.

1965 – Selma

  • Bloody Sunday - The demonstration march from Selma to Montgomery was nicknamed "Bloody Sunday" due to the brutality and violence troops used against the peaceful demonstrators.
  • March 7th Selma, Alabama - Over 600 people partook in the March from Selma, Alabama.

The Civil Rights Movement is a timeline of events that shaped American history and the world we live in today.