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History of the Civil Rights Era (1954-1968)


"We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom - August 28, 1963

On August 28, 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom assembled in front of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. The march, which was attended by 250,000 protesters, was a crucial milestone in the American civil rights movement.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The Supreme Court Stands Up

With the Brown decision, the Supreme Court finally applies the Fourteenth Amendment to the public school system.

The Murder of Emmett Till

A black 14-year-old whistled at a white woman and was brutally murdered--and the killer got away with it.

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

A black woman refused to give up her seat--and changed the country.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., the SCLC played a vital role in the civil rights movement.

The Little Rock Nine

Handing down the Brown ruling was one thing. Enforcing it was another.

James Meredith at Ole Miss

In 1962, one black student went to Ole Miss. In 2006, over 1,200 did.

Sit-Ins and Picketing

The civil rights movement was driven by small acts of courage.

The Freedom Rides

Despite facing violence, a few hundred activists confronted Southern governments--and won.

The Assassination of Medgar Evers

In 1963, the leader of the Mississippi NAACP was murdered.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

The astonishing power of the American civil rights movement was made visible on one day in 1963.

Freedom Summer

In 1964, a group of activists traveled to Mississippi to register black citizens to vote.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act ended legal segregation in public accommodations, and with it the Jim Crow era.

The Voting Rights Act

Extensive "literacy tests" were used to discourage prospective black voters from registering, but the Voting Rights Act put a stop to them.

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 4th, 1968, the leader of the American civil rights movement was murdered.

The Civil Rights Act of 1968

The last major Civil Rights Act officially banned housing discrimination.
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