CIVIL RIGHTS ERA

Most Important Events from this Period of Time

Most Important Events from the Civil Rights Era

JACKIE ROBINSON MAKES HISTORY

In 1947, Jackie Robinson made history as the first African American baseball player in the Major Leagues. In the pursuit of his dream, he did not let the negative voices and criticism coming from much of America bring him down; because he was successful in doing so, he was able to join the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. His bold acts led to the integration of baseball and sports in general.

SWEATT VS. PAINTER COURT CASE

This 1950 court case, which challenged the "separate but equal" doctrine of racial segregation successfully, was an extremely important court case when it came to the rights of African Americans. The court ruled that separate professional schools for blacks were not considered to be equal, which then forced Sweatt to be accepted into law school.

ROSA PARKS DOESN'T MOVE ON THE BUS

When traveling by public transportation during and before the Civil Rights Era, it was not uncommon for white Americans to ask African Americans to get out of their seats and move to the back of the bus so the white individual could sit down. One day in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks was asked to do just that. Just an everyday question, it was nothing out of the ordinary until she refused to move. She was jailed for this.

BROWN VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF TOPEKA, KANSAS COURT CASE

This 1954 supreme court case played a very important role in the Civil Rights Era. In this case, the ruling was that segregated schools were to be 'inherently unequal,' striking down the 'separate but equal' doctrine. This case overturned the ruling from the Plessy vs Ferguson case and banned racial segregation, which was very helpful for the African American citizens.

MLK's PEACEFUL PROTESTS

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He was a baptist minister, which was one of the few leadership roles available to black men of his time, and became a civil rights activist early in his career. One of his first non-violent protests was the Montgomery bus boycott, which he led from 1955-1956. He also helped to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. His efforts essentially led to the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. During this event, he raised public awareness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in the history of the United States.

INTERSTATE HIGHWAY ACT OF 1956

This $27 billion plan to build 42 thousand miles of sleek, fast motorway, authorized the construction of a national highway system with the federal government paying for the majority of the costs through increased fuel and vehicle taxes, was very influential in the Civil Rights Era. Eventually, $114 billion was expended over 35 years, allowing motorists to travel easily throughout the country; the expanded highway system also allowed for troop movement and evacuation routes.

LITTLE ROCK 9

The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American high school students; they helped to integrate a school by entering peacefully, with the help of troops sent by President Eisenhower, and not being prevented by angry mobs. President Eisenhower's use of the military to enforce the brown v. board of education decision helped to integrate Central High School and eventually America.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NASA

NASA, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, a US government agency in charge of the space program, was founded in 1958 to compete with Russia's space program, really kick starting the Space Race. It gained power as Kennedy fought to reach the moon by the end of the 1960s. Over the years, NASA has sent experditions to the moon, developed and managed the space station and space shuttle programs and has even sent probes to Mars.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NDEA

The National Defense Education Act, established in 1958, provided money for education and training in the areas of science, math, and foreign languages. It authorized $887 million in loans to college students in need of financial aid & in grants for improvement of the teaching of sciences & languages. This craze was inspired by the launch of the Sputnik!

JOHN F. KENNEDY ELECTED PRESIDENT

After the many Kennedy-Nixon debates, which were held on the radio so America could hear them live, John F. Kennedy won the election of 1960. The debates may have tipped the scales during the election of 1960; they demonstrated the rising importance of image in an age of television. Many Americans found Kennedy's glamor and vitality to be far more appealing than Nixon's tired appearance.