A Timeline of the Struggle for Equal Rights in America

1865

13th Amendment outlaws slavery

1865

Ku Klux Klan (KKK) founded to maintain white supremacy through intimidation and violence

1865

Freedman's Bureau formed during Reconstruction to assist freed slaves in the South

1866

Civil Rights Act grants citizenship to native-born Americans except Indians

1868

14th Amendment grants equal protection of the laws to African Americans

1870

15th Amendment establishes the right of African American males to vote

1875

Civil Rights Act grants equal access to public accommodations

1883

Supreme Court nullifies Civil Rights Act of

1896

Supreme Court validates the principle of "separate but equal" in Plessy v. Ferguson

1905

Niagara Movement founded to fight for school integration, voting rights, and assist African American political candidates, forerunner of the NAACP

1906

Greensburg, Indiana, race riot, the first of many in reaction to African American migration north

1909

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) formed to fight for civil rights through legal action and education

1915

Refounding of the Ku Klux Klan

1920

19th Amendment gives women the right to vote

1924

American Indians granted citizenship and the right to vote

1942

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) founded to fight for civil rights using nonviolent, direct-action protests

1948

President Harry Truman ends segregation in the U.S. military

1954

In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Supreme Court overturns the principle of "separate but equal"

1955

Rosa Parks begins the Montgomery Bus Boycott

1957

President Dwight Eisenhower sends U.S. Army troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce the desegregation of schools

1957

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) founded to coordinate localized southern efforts to fight for civil rights

1960

Sit-in at the F. W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, February 1

1960

Hundreds of university students stage a sit-in at downtown stores in Nashville, Tennessee, to protest segregated lunch counters

1960

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) founded to coordinate student-led efforts to end segregation

1960

Civil Rights Act reaffirms voting rights for all Americans

1961

Integrated groups of protesters join Freedom Rides on buses across the South to protest segregation

1963

Hundreds of thousands of Americans take part in the March on Washington to call for racial equality

1964

24th Amendment outlaws poll taxes for national elections

1964

Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination in public accommodations and by employers

1964

Organization for Afro-American Unity (OAU) formed to promote closer ties between African Americans and Africa

1965

Voting Rights Act nullifies local laws and practices that prevent minorities from voting

1965

Malcolm X assassinated

1968

Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated

1968

Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination in the sale or rental of housing

1970

Voting Rights Act of 1965 renewed

 

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