The Civil Rights Movement

History Never To Be Forgotten

Introduction (Project Question: To what degree has civil rights movement contributed to making the United States a more equal and just society?)

From the start of the civil rights movement it was clear that it would have a major impact on the future of this country. At the start of the civil rights movement it may have seemed that life would always be segregated and unequal, however there was a large group of amazing young men and women who were determined to make life better for generations of African Americans for years to come. Because of the heroic actions of many Americans we can do as MLK jr hoped and prayed we would be able to do ''I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.'' These great words are no longer a dream, its reality, its modern day America.

Specific details about the civil rights movement 1954-1968

On May 17, 1954 the US supreme court ruled that it was unconstitutional to segregate African American students from attending all white schools and the term "separate but equal'' became a thing of the past. Several years later during the September of 1957 the Little Rock Nine enrolled at Central High school in little Rock, Arkansas. The little Rock Nine were the first African American students to be enrolled in an all white school. However, even though federally it was approved for any African American student to become enrolled in the same school as white children it was not approved by the governor of Arkansas. This conflict between president Eisenhower and Governor Orval Faubus was known as The Little Rock Crisis. Governor Faubus ordered the National Guard to stand in front of the high school and were instructed not to let the nine children into the school. Soon after hearing this horrific news, president Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne division to ensure that these nine American children would be allowed to attend Central High school.


Martin Luther King jr. was and will always be remembered as one of the most influential figures of the civil rights movement. MLK jr was a man that not only helped change history for African Americans but also became a roll model for many Americans. The reason he became a role model for many was because of the way he fought the injustice that was occuring during the 50s and 60s. his ideas on fighting back were not with fists, weapons, or hate but with the ideals of Gandhi. MLK jr and others like him fought back by organizing large but peaceful speeches and marches.One of his most famous speeches is his ''I have a dream" speech. In his speech he says, ''With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning''.This quote shows the heart and desire of MLK jr and others like him to leave a better life, a better future, and a better America for millions of African Americans in the years to come.


Malcolm x was also a very influential leader during the civil rights movement.From the start Malcolm had a rough life because his father was killed at a young age and his family became split up in the process. As his life continued he lost interest in school at the age of 15 and dropped out. Finally he landed a seven year sentence in prison for theft and several other crimes. While he was serving his time in prison he converted to the Nation of Islam. Once he got out of prison he began a movement that promoted fighting for the same rights as MLK jr but instead of non violent protesting they advocated using any means necessary meaning aggressive force.His ideas were polar opposite of the teachings of MLK jr and they did not agree with one another whatsoever. However, they did have one thing in common which is they were both assassinated.

The NAACP and The Black Panthers (Two major groups of the civil rights movement)

The NAACP stands for the National Advancement of Colored People which was founded February 12, 1909. The NAACP played a major role during the civil rights movement because they fought battles in the courts. The goal of this group was to overturn many of the segregation laws during the 1950's and 60's. One of their major accomplishments was the Norris vs. Alabama case which ruled that it was violating rights for equal protection under the law for African Americans.This group was very different from groups such as the Black Panthers because the NAACP was a non violent group.


The Black panthers were a group of African American men and women who were determined to change the segregation laws using any means necessary which often meant the use of violent force. The group was founded in Oakland California in October 1966. Their founders were Huey Newton and Bobby Seale who based the groups ideas off socialism. The political party is still active today but not as outspoken as it once was.

Top 5 most influential events of the Civil Rights movement

  • Brown vs. Board and the Liittle Rock Nine - The significance of this event was it showed the Nation that the president was going to stand by the courts decision to allow the nine children to attend central High School. Also this event paved the way for many other African Americans that wanted to attend an all white school.
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott - This event is important because
  • Birmingham, Alabama -(spring, 1963) This was an important event because it was another major protesting event that was peaceful but still left a mark during the movement. During this event many African Americans peacefully broke segregation laws which would eventually overload the jails. The idea behind this type of protesting was that it would always allow civil rights members to be out actively protesting because they cant arrest everyone.
  • March on Washington - (August 28,1963) This march was very important because it brought almost 200,00 whites and blacks together to hear a speech from MLk jr. This speech would go down in history as one of the most influential moments of the civil rights movement because it would eventually draw blacks and whites together peacefully.
  • 16th street Baptist Church Bombing -(September 15,1963) The Bombing was carried out by members of the KKk and the result was four dead children. The children's names were Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins.The bombers were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The reason this was a significant event was because the crimes committed against the four black children were not hidden and left unpunished like thousands of others before.