TOP TEN OF CIVIL RIGHTS ERA
By Kailey Visoski
#1 Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
Decision made by the Supreme Court in 1954 that said "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal"; overruled Plessy v. Ferguson and specifically established that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional by violating the 14th amendment.
#2 Rosa Parks
Born in 1913, she was a United States civil rights leader who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955 and not only initiated the Montgomery bus boycott, but triggered the national civil rights movement.
#3 Sweat v. Painter
Sweat, a black man, applied to a Texas law school and was rejected based on racial grounds. He sued for admission but because the state government would not allow the university to accept blacks, they built an all black law school. Sweat sued again in 1950 and took it to the Supreme Court saying that the schools were not equal; the Court found in favor of Sweat. The case successfully challenged the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation established Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.
#4 Montgomery Bus Boycott
A political and social protest campaign against the racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. All African American people decided to walk instead of take the bus in protest. It lasted from December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, until December 20, 1956 when Browder v. Gayle took effect and the Supreme Court ruling declared the Alabama law of bus segregation as unconstitutional.
#5 March on Washington
August 28, 1963, civil rights leaders organized a massive rally in Washington to urge passage of president Kennedy's civil rights bill, which would desegregate the south, raise minimum wage, etc. The high point came when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech to more than 200,000 marchers in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
#6 Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" Speech
The most famous civil rights speech, came from Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington; he called for racial equality and an end to African American discrimination.
#7 Murder of Emmett Till
In August of 1955, 14 year old African American boy Emmett Till from North Chicago was spending time with relatives in the South and whistled at a white cashier, which resulted in him getting kidnapped and murdered by the woman's husband and brother. He was beaten beyond recognition, but when put on trial, the husband and brother were found innocent. It caused international outrage and is noted as one of the leading events that triggered the national civil rights movement.
#8 Little Rock Crisis
The Little Rock Nine was a group of African American enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957 in an effort to desegregate the school. Arkansas governor Faubus sent the Arkansas national guard to prevent the nine children from entering the school, and in response, President Eisenhower sent in U.S. paratroopers to ensure the students could attend class.
#9 16th Street Church Bombing
This church in Birmingham was a meeting place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, Ralph Abernathy, and Fred Shutterworth. When the SSLC and CORE became involved in the campaign for voting registration in Birmingham there was much tension. On September 15, 1963, a white man laced a bomb under the stairs, which detonated and killed 4 young girls (3 14 year olds and an 11 year old), who had been at Sunday school. 23 others were also hurt in the bombing.
#10 Civil Rights Act of 1964
In 1964, this act banned discrimination in public accommodations, prohibited discrimination in any federally assisted program, and outlawed discrimination in most employment. It gave the government the power to enforce all laws governing civil rights, including the desegregation of schools and public places. This, along with the voting rights act helped to give African Americans equality on paper, and more federally-protected power so that social equality was a more realistic goal.