Top Ten

Most Important Events from Civil Rights Era

1. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" Speech

August 28, 1963

20,000 blacks and whites gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to hear speeches against racism; one of the most famous and influential speeches of all time

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2. Rosa Parks

December 1, 1955

Montgomery, Alabama - Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus and was arrested; sparked much animosity and dissent

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3. Brown v. Board of Education Topeka

May 17, 1954

The Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unequal and therefore unconstitutional

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4. Southern Christian Leadership Conference

February 1957

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was established by Martin Luther King, Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Charles K. Steele; mobilized black churches for black civil rights

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5. Little Rock Central High School

September 1957

The governor of Arkansas mobilized the National Guard to prevent black students from entering; Eisenhower sent federal troops to escort the black students inside

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6. "To Secure These Rights"

October 1947

Truman ended racial segregation in federal civil service and and order "equality of treatment and opportunity" in the armed forces
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7. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee

April 1960

Formed by black students and used sit-ins, walk-outs, and other means to force desegregation in schools

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8. Montgomery Bus Boycott

December 21, 1956

The bus system in Montgomery, Alabama desegregated as a result of the year-long bus boycott in response to Rosa Parks' arrest

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9. Emmett Till Murdered

August 1955

A 14-year-old black boy was murdered for whistling at a white woman
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10. Sweatt v. Painter

June 1950

The Court ruled that separate professional schools for blacks failed to meet the test of equality
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