Civil Rights Timeline

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Civil Rights Timeline

Jan. 15, 1929 - Dr. King is born - Born on Jan. 15, 1929, in

Atlanta, Ga., he was the
second of three children of the Rev. Michael (later Martin) and


Williams King.

Sept. 1, 1954 - Dr. King becomes pastor - In 1954, King accepted his
first pastorate--the

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. He and his wife,

Coretta Scott King, whom he had met and married (June 1953) while at

Boston University.

Dec. 1, 1955 - Rosa Parks defies city segregation - Often called
"the mother of the civil
rights movement," Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, b. Tuskegee, Ala., Feb.


1913, sparked the 381-day Montgomery bus boycott that led to a 1956

Supreme Court order outlawing discriminatory practices on Montgomery
buses. In December 1955, returning home from her assistant tailor job

Montgomery, Parks refused a bus driver's order to surrender her seat
to a
white man. She was jailed and fined $14.

Dec. 5, 1955 - Montgomery bus boycott- Although precipitated by the
arrest of Rosa

Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56 was actually a
response to decades of intimidation, harassment and discrimination

Alabama's African American population. By 1955, judicial decisions
still the principal means of struggle for civil rights, even though
marches and boycotts sometimes punctuated the litigation. The boycott,
which lasted for more than a year, was almost 100 percent effective.

Dec. 21, 1956 - Bus segregation declared illegal - The boycott's
succeeded in
desegregating public facilities in the South and also in obtaining
civil rights
legislation from Congress.

Civil Rights Timeline

Sept. 24, 1957 - May 2, 1963

Sept. 24, 1957 - School integration - In September 1957 the state
received national
attention when Gov. Orval E. Faubus (in office 1955-67) tried to
the integration of Little Rock Central High School. President Dwight


Eisenhower quickly intervened, in part by sending federal troops to


Rock, and several black students were enrolled at Central High School.

Aug. 19, 1958 - Student sit-ins - In spite of the events in Little

Rock or Montgomery, or

Supreme Court decisions, segregation still pervaded American society

1960. While protests and boycotts achieved moderate successes in
desegregating aspects of education and transportation, other
facilities such
as restaurants, theaters, libraries, amusement parks and churches
barred or limited access to African Americans, or maintained separate,
invariably inferior, facilities for black patrons. Nowhere was the
contradiction of accepting money with one hand while withholding
with the other so glaring as the lunch counters of five-and-ten cent
and department stores.

This situation coincided with a growing dissatisfaction among the
black population. Although many of them enjoyed political, education
economic rights undreamed of by their elders, the remaining barriers
seemed as high as ever. Often violence, threats and political
such as token integration maintained the status quo. This exhibit
features a
restored dime store lunch counter, populated with student protesters,
includes audio visual segments of the events.

May 3, 1961 - "Freedom Riders" - The Congress of Racial Equality
organizes the
"Freedom Riders."

Sept. 30, 1962 - University Riot - During the 1960s, Mississippi was
a center of the Civil

Rights movement. Despite the 1954 Supreme Court decision making
segregated schools illegal, the state did not quickly institute
integration. In 1962 a black student, James Meredith, attempted to
the University of Mississippi law school. His admission was blocked,
during the subsequent violence, federal troops were sent to restore
order to
a 15 hour riot. Violent incidents against blacks took place as the
for integration continued.

May 2, 1963 - Youth Marches - Youth Marches occur at City Hall.

Civil Rights Timeline

Aug. 28, 1963 - May 7, 1965

Aug. 28, 1963 - King delivers his "I have a dream" speech - King
organized the massive

March on Washington (Aug. 28, 1963) where, in his brilliant "I Have

Dream" speech, he "subpoenaed the conscience of the nation before
judgment seat of morality."

Jan. 23, 1964 - 24th Amendment ratified - The 24th Amendment to the U.


Constitution, proposed by Congress on Aug. 27, 1962, and ratified


23, 1964, bans the use of poll taxes in federal elections (a device
by some states to circumvent the 15th Amendment's guarantee of equal
voting rights). Intended to alleviate the burdens of black and poor
it states that in any presidential or congressional election, no
citizen can be
denied, by the state or federal government, the right to vote because
failure to pay either a poll tax or any other tax.

Jul. 2, 1964 - Civil Rights Act - Congress enacted new legislation in
an attempt to
overcome local and state obstruction to the exercise of citizenship
rights by
blacks. These efforts culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
prohibited discrimination in employment and established the Equal

Employment Opportunity Commission. This major piece of

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