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

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

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.
  • University of Mississippi Riot - Learn about the violence and death that ensued from the protest of a black man attending a white school.

1963 – Birmingham

  • Birmingham, AlabamaIn one of the most turbulent cities during the Civil rights movement, this organization explores all of the different activities that made this city a hub of change during this time period.
  • Birmingham Demonstrations - Read about the efforts Martin Luther King Jr. and citizens hoping for change took to ensure equality for all.
  • Birmingham Civil Rights District - A historical look at all of the events that took place in Birmingham during the Civil rights movement.

1963 – March on Washington

1964 – Freedom Summer

1965 – Selma

  • Selma Marches - What was to be a peaceful march turned into a violent display of hate against the Civil Rights movement.
  • 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.

Photographs from Civil Rights Movements

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