Top 10 Civil Rights Era Events

Samantha Echols

1. "I Have A Dream Speech"

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream Speech" to nearly 200,000 people at Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

2. Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955 - 1956)

After being arrested for not giving up her seat to a white man, many southerners formed the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Lasting over a year, Congress decided that the segregation of buses was unconstitutional.

3. Brown v. Board of Education (May 1954)

Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. Thus helping pave the way for desegregation. Thurgood Marshal was prosecutor.

4. Central High School (Sept 1957)

Nine black students are integrated into a all white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Because of the severity, President Eisenhower sends federal troops and the National guard to protect the "Little Rock Nine".

5. Sweatt v. Painter (1950)

Supreme Court case that challenged the "separate but equal" doctrine of social integration established by Plessy v. Ferguson. Herman Sweatt was refused admission to the University of Texas, whose president claimed that the Texas State Constitution prohibited integrated education.

6. Greensboro Sit-In (Feb 1960)

Four black college students from Greensboro, N.C. demanded service at a white lunch counter; they were refused service, but allowed to sit at the counter. This triggers several other sit-ins and leads to integration of several other public facilities.

7. Civil Rights Act of 1964

President Johnson passes on of the biggest civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. Act prohibits discrimination of all types including race, color, religion or national origin. Federal government also given power to force desegregation.

8. "Bloody Sunday" (Mar 7, 1965)

Blacks begin to march to Montgomery in support of voting rights, but stopped by police. Officers uses tear gas, whips, and clubs against them, sending several to the hospital Media dubs it "Bloody Sunday". Helped passed voting rights act five months later.

9. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Jan - Feb 1957)

Martin Luther King Jr., Charles Steele, and Fred Shuttlesworth establish the SLSC, which King is made president of. Organization become leading force in the civil rights movement and bases its principles on nonviolence and civil disobedience.

10. Freedom Riders (May 1961)

Students volunteered to take bus rides throughout the south to test the new law of that prohibits segregation of interstate travel facilities, but attacked by violent, angry mobs.