Tuesday, April 04, 2017


I thought I would just present a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement of 1954-1968 and some personal recollections.

It was a nonviolent freedom movement to gain legal equality and enforcement of constitutional rights for African Americans and others. The goals of the movement included securing equal protection of the laws, ending legally established racial discrimination, and gaining equal access to public facilities, education reform, fair housing, and the ability to vote. This is just a small record of all that was going on and was achieved.

Just reading over this timeline, still to this day, has me ashamed that my country was like this -BUT proud that, certain people made big differences, throughout those years. I grew up on the west coast and never saw, the discrimination, that many did in the south or Midwest. I do remember a couple of times, as a child, traveling by car, to see relatives in Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee, seeing things, that my parents had to explain to me. I remember one time, in Arkansas - we were checking into a Howard Johnson motel and there was a black luggage porter. and the white man, before us, threw him a coin tip, that rolled under the car and he just laughed and walked away. My dad and that porter got on their hands and knees, to get that quarter. I never realized the significance of my dad, a white man, helping a black man, until a few years later. I never saw that in San Francisco.

I remember another time driving back and there were riots. I especially remember driving through Newark, New Jersey a few days after and stopping at a gas station, and the attendant told us, to just get out of the area - (We were planning to drive into NYC)


* In Brown v. Board of Education, the decision widely regarded as having sparked the modern civil rights era, the Supreme Court rules deliberate public school segregation illegal, effectively overturning "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. Chief Justice Earl Warren, writing for a unanimous Court, notes that to segregate children by race "generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone."

*Thurgood Marshall heads the NAACP/Legal Defense Fund team winning the ruling.

* Hernandez v. Texas becomes the first Mexican American discrimination case to reach the Supreme Court. The case involves a murder conviction by a jury that includes no Latinos. Chief Justice Earl Warren holds persons of Mexican descent are "persons of a distinct class" entitled to the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.


* Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads the first major event of the U.S. civil rights movement, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama -

* Interstate Commerce Commission orders all U.S. interstate trains and buses to end segregation practices -

* Federal troops ordered to enforce integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas

* In Alabama, on December 1 Rosa Parks refuses to up her bus seat to a white man, precipitating the Montgomery bus boycott, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.


* Montgomery bus boycott ends in victory, December 21, after the city announces it will comply with a November Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation on buses illegal.

* Earlier in the year, King's home was bombed.
* Autherine Lucy is first African American admitted to the University of Alabama.


* Despite record-setting filibuster by Sen. Strom Thurmond, Congress approves the first significant civil rights legislation since the Civil War

* Black students stage a sit-in at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC to protest segregated seating at the establishment; the event inspires a wave of such sit-ins across the South


* Alaska and Hawaii are admitted as states. Hawaii, the 50th state, elects Hiram Fong (of Chinese ancestry) and Daniel Inouye (of Japanese ancestry) to represent them in Congress, the first two Asian Americans to serve in that body.


* "Freedom Riders" travel throughout the South to test and promote integration measures; many are assaulted and beaten -

* John F. Kennedy elected president.


 * Three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi during "Freedom Summer"

* May 6 – Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy delivers a speech to the students of the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia, promising to enforce civil rights legislation. It is the Kennedy administration's first formal endorsement of civil rights -

* Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, a white southerner who deliberately darkened his skin to pass as a Negro in the Deep South, is published, describing "Jim Crow" segregation for a national audience.


* The United Farm Workers Union , under the leadership of Cesar Chavez, organizes to win bargaining power for Mexican Americans.

* James Meredith becomes first African American student admitted to the University of Mississippi.


* June 20, President John F. Kennedy meets with civil rights leaders at the White House in an attempt to call off the March on Washington scheduled for August.

* Over a quarter of a million people participate in the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, and hear Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech.

* Medger Evers, NAACP field secretary in Jackson, Miss., murdered on June 12, 1963.

* A Birmingham church is bombed on Sept. 15, killing four African American girls attending Sunday school: Denise McNair, age 11, and Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Adie Mae Collins, all 14 years old.

* President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
* Vice President Lyndon Johnson becomes president.

* Martin Luther King Jr., receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

* The Twenty-fourth Amendment, ending the poll tax, is ratified and becomes part of the Constitution.

* Mississippi Freedom Summer, a voter education and registration project, begins.
* White northern college students volunteer to run practice elections in preparation for the Presidential election of 1964.

* Two white students, Andrew Goodman and Michael Scherner, and an African American civil rights worker, James Chaney, are murdered. * The Bracero Program is terminated.


* Race riots break out in Harlem and other U.S. cities


* Selma, Ala. voting rights campaign. Jimmie Lee Jackson, 26, participating in a march led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is killed by Alabama state troopers as he attempts to prevent the troopers from beating his mother and grandfather.

* Selma to Montgomery march.

* The Voting Rights Act passes and is signed into law on August 6, effectively ending literacy tests and a host of other obstacles used to disenfranchise African American and other minority citizens.

* Malcolm X, the fiery orator and Muslim leader, is assassinated. For some, Malcolm X's militant rhetoric is a rival and alternative to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message of Christian non-violence.

*The Watt's section of Los Angeles erupts in five days of rioting after an African American woman is killed by a fire truck driven by white men.


* National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded to fight politically for full equality between the sexes.

* Stokely Carmichael, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, first uses the phrase "black power" during a voter registration drive in Mississippi. The phrase - and its many different interpretations by African Americans and whites - divides the civil rights movement.


*Sparked by a police raid on a black power hangout, Detroit erupts into the worst race riots ever in the nation, with 43 people dead, including 33 African Americans and 10 whites.

* During the nine months of the year, 164 other racial disturbances are reported across the country, including major riots in Tampa, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Newark, Plainfield and Brunswick, New Jersey, which kill at least 83 people.

* Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American justice of the Supreme Court.

* Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, is stripped of his heavyweight boxing title for resisting military draft as a Muslim minister in the Nation of Islam.

* Jose Angel Gutierrez founds the Mexican American Youth Organization in San Antonio, Texas. The group would become over time La Rasa Unida Party, the first Chicano political party. Articles of incorporation are filed in San Antonio for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the first national Chicano civil rights legal organization.

* Congress enacts the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 prohibiting employment discrimination against older Americans. The act is amended 12 years later to prohibit discrimination against older Americans by any housing provider who receives federal funds.


* March 1,The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, popularly known as the Kerner Commission after chairman Otto Kerner, Governor of Illinois, issues its report warning that the nation is moving toward two separate societies-one black and poor, the other affluent and white. The commission, appointed by President Johnson following the 1967 disorders in Detroit and other communities, calls for major anti-poverty efforts and strengthened civil rights enforcement to eliminate the causes of the disorders.

 * April 4, Martin Luther King, Jr. is murdered. The assassination sparks unrest and civil disorders in 124 cities across the country, including the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

 * On April 11, as disorders continue, President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, aimed at curbing discrimination in housing.

* June 6, Sen. Robert Kennedy, campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president, is shot and killed in a Los Angeles hotel.

 * Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.) is the first African American woman elected to Congress.

 * American Indian Movement (AIM) founded in Minneapolis.

1948 Events & Facts MAJOR EVENTS: 
Mahatma Gandhi assassinated in India
House Un-American Activities Committee accuses Alger Hiss of spying for the Soviet Union Communists seize power in Czechoslovakia
U.S. Congress ratifies Marshall Plan, approving $17 billion in European aid
State of Israel created; admits over 200,000 European war refugees
Soviet Union seals off land routes to Berlin;
West responds with massive airlift of provisions
President Harry S Truman re-elected in upset over Thomas E. Dewey
President Truman integrates the U.S. Armed Forces

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY: Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male is the first large-scale study of individuals’ sexual habits, with stunning revelations about infidelity, homosexuality and other issues
U.S. government conducts extensive missile tests in New Mexico desert
200-inch telescope at Mount Palomar begins operation
Cortisone introduced as an arthritis treatment
 "Big bang" theory of the universe’s origin postulated
Orville Wright dies

Sources; Wikipedia and http://www.civilrights.org/


  1. Thanks for this timeline. It was a great snapshot of the story of the movement.

    1. It was indeed a struggle - they endured and sadly enough, still are to this day. Shame!

  2. Lots of laws passed in just a few years, decades to change hearts and minds, a process still in progress.

    I still remember images of cattle prods and fire hoses on the nightly news.

  3. That's a great timeline. I'm familiar with most of these events but not the book Black Like Me. Sounds interesting. I grew up in the South in the 1970s and we were told not to treat others differently based on their skin color but there were no people of color in my neighborhood or church.

    C is for Church Committee: Intelligence Abuses by the CIA

    1. Black Like Me was required reading in my california public school.

    2. It was required summer reading before my first year of college.

  4. I just read your first three A-Z posts. Good for you for taking on the challenge. I am learning so much from your writing. I have a hard time keeping historical events in perspective.

    1. Aw thanks, Denise. It's not easy.

  5. Being born in 1960, I have no recollection of the early civil rights movement. I do have memory of the Black Panthers acting so defiant and angry. I was taught to respect every person, to judge by actions alone.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    1. I remember the Black Panthers too.

  6. Great history lesson, one I wish more folks would pay attention too, and that quote, excellent!

    1. I'm with you on that. I love that quote too.

  7. I really like this quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a special one.

    Have a nice week, Debby.


    1. Thank You Sheri and you have a good week as well.

  8. I loved the quote - it really says so much in so few words!

  9. Thanks for the history lesson. Good thing there were people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King to champion the cause. His assassination was a terrible day for all.

    Debbie @ THE DOGLADY'S DEN
    Latest Post: CHERRY HILL PARK: First love is the hardest!

    1. I remember it well. I was in the 8th grade

  10. I have a paperback copy of Black Like Me. It has been years since I read it. I should pull it out and read it again. I grew up in Kansas during these times. I don't ever remember anything about the races. I don't know that I recognized that some of the kids were a different color than me. We were poor. All of us. Blacks and whites alike. That is what we had in common. And we didn't have a TV so I didn't see anything about the race riots until many years later. Of course I remember the assassinations. Times were very difficult Much like they are today.

    1. Interesting Paula. My husband's family were farmers in Kansas.

  11. Though years.

    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

  12. I was very young during the Civil Rights timeframe and segregation occurred in my school when I was in the sixth grade. I remember the scared little girl they brought into our classroom and how my heart ached for her. The story about your daddy and the quarter brought tears to my eyes. We have a wonderful Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham if you are ever here - worth a visit!

    1. My brother and his family live in Alabama so next time there, I should visit the museum. I know I would really enjoy seeing it.

  13. What is weird is that for most part, integration went pretty smoothly in most Georgia counties. I am not saying it was peachy keen for everyone.
    I live in a military town so we were integrated when Eisenhower integrated the military. Many smaller counties were relieved. They had a hard time funding two school systems plus the white and black communities already knew it other. I have a friend from Peach county who is African American. People can have warts. But everybody in Fort Valley where she was born, raised and lives are all good people.
    But it is sad. I was reading today about the Green book African Americans had to use to travel around the United States.

    1. I would like to get my hands on one of those green books....Crazy that we even had books like that.

  14. Our small SE Texas town skirted through the times without incident. I really enjoyed your recollections! Your Daddy was a good man. My Daddy taught me to judge people on what they do, not color, religion, status, etc.


Comments are good - I admit, sometimes I don't respond back, in time for a dialog. I bad! I will TRY and do better. Thanks for understanding.

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