U.S. Civil Rights History

Historical Events


Event of interestEvent of Interest

1866-03-27 US President Andrew Johnson vetoes civil rights bill; it later becomes 14th amendment

17th US President Andrew Johnson
17th US President
Andrew Johnson
  • 1866-04-09 Civil Rights Bill passes over President Andrew Johnson's veto
  • 1866-06-13 US House of representatives passes 14th Amendment (Civil rights)
  • 1866-07-19 Tennessee is 1st to ratify 14th Amendment to the US constitution, guaranteeing civil rights
  • 1872-05-22 Amnesty Act restores civil rights to Southerners (except for 500)
  • 1875-03-01 US Congress passes Civil Rights Act; invalidated by Supreme Ct, 1883
  • 1883-10-15 Supreme Court declares Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional
  • 1905-07-11 Black intellectuals & activists lead by WEB Dubois organize the civil rights Niagara Movement

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1946-12-05 US President Harry Truman creates Committee on Civil Rights by Exec Order #9808

33rd US President Harry Truman
33rd US President
Harry Truman
  • 1948-02-02 President Harry Truman urges congress to adopt a civil rights program
  • 1950-01-15 4,000 attend National Emergency Civil Rights Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • 1957-05-17 Prayer Pilgrimage, biggest civil rights demonstration to date (DC)
  • 1957-08-28 US Senator James Thurmond (Rep, SC) begins 24-hr filibuster against civil rights bill
  • 1957-08-29 Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1957
  • 1957-08-29 Strom Thurmond (Sen-D-SC) ends 24 hr filibuster against civil rights
  • 1957-08-30 US senator Strom Thurmond speaks 24hrs 27m against civil rights

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1957-09-09 US President Eisenhower signs 1st civil rights bill since Reconstruction

34th US President & WWII General Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th US President & WWII General
Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • 1960-02-01 4 students stage 1st civil rights sit-in, at Woolworth's in Greensboro, NC
  • 1960-04-08 US Senate passes Civil Rights Bill with measures against discriminatory voting pracrices
  • 1960-04-10 Senate passes landmark Civil Rights Bill
  • 1960-05-06 US President Eisenhower signs Civil Rights Act of 1960
  • 1963-08-28 200,000 march and demonstrate for African American civil rights in Washington, D.C.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1963-08-28 Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I have a dream speech" addressing civil rights march at Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 1964-02-08 Rep Martha Griffiths address gets civil rights protection for women being added to the 1964 Civil Rights Act
  • 1964-02-17 US House of Representatives accept Law on the civil rights
  • 1964-06-10 Southern filibuster on civil rights bill ends; cloture invoked
  • 1964-06-19 Civil Rights Act of 1964 passes 73-27
  • 1964-06-21 Three civil rights workers, Michael H Schwerner, Andrew Goodman & James E Chane, disappeared after release from a Mississippi jail
  • 1964-06-29 Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed after 83-day filibuster in the US Senate

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1964-07-02 US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Civil Rights Act & Voting Rights Act into law

36th US President Lyndon B. Johnson
36th US President
Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 1964-08-04 Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman & James E Chaney, bodies discovered in an earthen Mississippi dam
  • 1966-04-01 Loyalist led by Ian Paisley, a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, founded the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee to challenge the civil rights movement; it set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers
  • 1966-05-13 US Federal education funding is denied to 12 school districts in the South because of violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
  • 1966-06-01 2,400 persons attend White House Conference on Civil Rights
  • 1967-10-20 All white federal jury convicts 7 in murder of 3 civil rights workers in Meridan Mississippi
  • 1968-04-04 US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1968-04-11 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs 1968 Civil Rights Act
  • 1979-10-14 1st Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. by over 100,000 people
  • 1985-01-15 Civil rights activist Tancredo Neves elected president
  • 1985-06-25 Thurman v City of Torrington decides in favor of Tracey Thurman, 1st woman to sue a police dept for violating her civil rights (not protecting against abusive husband).
  • 1985-08-14 Political violence by the youth begins after the funeral of assassinated Victoria Mxenge, a civil rights lawyer, who was respected and liked by the Congress of South African Students
  • 1987-10-11 200,000 gays march for civil rights in Washington

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1988-03-22 US Congress overrides President Reagan's veto of sweeping civil rights bill

US President & Actor Ronald Reagan
US President & Actor
Ronald Reagan

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1989-09-02 Rev Al Sharpton leads a civil rights march through Bensonhurst

Minister and Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton
Minister and Civil Rights Activist
Al Sharpton

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1992-08-05 4 cops in Rodney King beating case indicted on civil rights charge

Victim of Police Violence Rodney King
Victim of Police Violence
Rodney King
  • 1993-02-03 Federal trial of 4 police officers charged with civil rights violations in videotaped beating of Rodney King begins in LA Calif
  • 1993-04-17 Two Los Angeles police officers convicted in federal court of violating Rodney King's civil rights
  • 2000-08-18 A Federal jury finds the US Environmental Protection Agency guilty of discrimination against Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, later inspiring passage of the No FEAR Act.
  • 2002-05-22 American civil rights movement: a jury in Birmingham, Alabama, convicts former Ku Klux Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry of the 1963 murders of four girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
  • 2005-01-06 Mississippi Civil Rights Workers Murders: Edgar Ray Killen is arrested as a suspect for the 1964 murders of three Civil Rights workers.
  • 2014-12-13 A civil rights protest march in Washington, D.C. takes place, against the police killing of unarmed black men

Famous Birthdays

  • 1862-07-16 Ida Bell Wells-Barnett [Iola], US civil rights activist (d. 1931)
  • 1863-09-23 Mary Church Terrell, civil rights activist

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1868-02-23 W. E. B. Du Bois, American civil rights activist and writer (Souls of Black Folk, born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (d. 1963)

Civil Rights Activist W.E.B. Du Bois
Civil Rights Activist
W.E.B. Du Bois

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1871-06-17 James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, leader of the NAACP and Harlem Renaissance poet, born in Jacksonville, Florida (d. 1938)

Writer and Civil Rights Activist James Weldon Johnson
Writer and Civil Rights Activist
James Weldon Johnson
  • 1892-04-22 Vernon Johns, American civil rights activist (d. 1965)
  • 1898-05-03 Septima Poinsette Clark, civil rights activist/educator
  • 1898-07-27 Audley Moore, civil rights activist, humanitarian [Queen Mother]
  • 1901-08-30 Roy Wilkins, American civil rights activist and longtime executive director of NAACP, born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1981)
  • 1905-07-05 Myles Horton, American educator and Civil Rights Movement teacher (d. 1990)
  • 1907-05-01 Oliver Hill, civil rights attorney (d. 2007)
  • 1907-08-31 Augustus F. Hawkins, American politician and civil rights lawmaker (d. 2007)
  • 1910-03-04 Tancredo Neves, president of Civil rights activist
  • 1910-03-17 Bayard Rustin, civil rights leader
  • 1911-08-14 Ethel Lois Payne, American civil rights journalist and "1st Lady of the Black Press", born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1912-01-25 Lucius E Burch Jr, US lawyer/civil rights leader

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1912-03-24 Dorothy Height, American civil rights and women's rights activist, born in Richmond, Virginia (d. 2010)

Women's and Civil Rights Activist Dorothy Height
Women's and Civil Rights Activist
Dorothy Height

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1913-02-04 Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, born in Tuskegee, Alabama (d. 2005)

Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks
Civil Rights Activist
Rosa Parks
  • 1914-07-24 Kenneth B Clark, Canal Zone, civil rights activist (Dark Ghetto)
  • 1915-01-06 Don Edwards, American politician and civil rights champion (Rep-D-CA, 1963-94), born in San Jose, California (d. 2015)
  • 1917-03-11 Robert L Carter, Caryville, Florida, American civil rights activist and judge (Brown v. Board of Education, NAACP v. Alabama) (d. 2012)
  • 1918-04-23 Gordon Hirabayshi, American civil rights activist and WWII internment opponent (Hirabayshi v. United States), born in Seattle, Washington (d. 2012)
  • 1920-01-12 James Farmer, Marshall, Tex, civil rights leader
  • 1921-07-31 Whitney M Young Jr, civil rights leader, head of Urban League

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1922-03-18 Fred Shuttlesworth, American civil rights activist, born in Mount Meigs, Alabama (d. 2011)

Civil Rights Activist Fred Shuttlesworth
Civil Rights Activist
Fred Shuttlesworth
  • 1922-09-11 Charles Evers, civil rights leader (Amazing Grace)
  • 1923-06-08 Malcolm Boyd, American Episcopal Priest, author and civil rights activist, born in Buffalo, New York
  • 1925-01-31 Benjamin Hooks, civil rights leader
  • 1925-11-21 Johan "Poncke" Princen, KNIL-defector/civil rights in Jakarta
  • 1926-03-11 Ralph Abernathy, civil rights leader (Southern Christian Leadership)
  • 1926-04-10 Johnnie Tillmon, civil rights activist (National Welfare Rights Association)
  • 1927-04-27 Coretta Scott King, Marion Ala, civil rights leader

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1929-01-15 Martin Luther King Jr., American clergyman and leader of the Civil Rights Movement (Nobel 1964), born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1968)

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 1929-03-12 Lupe Anguiano, Mexican-American civil rights activist
  • 1930-11-10 Clarence M Pendleton Jr, chairman of US comm on Civil Rights (1981-88)
  • 1930-12-31 Odetta [Odetta Holmes], American folk singer (Sanctuary), actress and civil rights activist, born in Birmingham, Alabama (d. 2008)
  • 1933-06-25 James Meredith, American civil rights activist
  • 1935-08-15 Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr, civil rights activist (National Urban League)
  • 1938-02-17 Mary Frances Berry, educator/head (US Commission on Civil Rights)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1938-12-16 Jimmie Lee Jackson, American civil rights protester who was shot and killed by an Alabama State Trooper in 1965, born in Marion, Alabama (d. 1965)

Civil Rights Activist Jimmie Lee Jackson
Civil Rights Activist
Jimmie Lee Jackson
  • 1939-12-09 Patrician Stephens Due, Quincy, Florida, African-American civil rights activist (FAMU jail-in), (d. 2012)
  • 1940-01-14 Julian Bond, American civil rights leader and politician (D-Ga), born in Nashville Tennessee (d. 2015)
  • 1943-05-10 James Earl Chaney, US civil rights activist
  • 1943-11-06 Michael Schwerner, civil rights worker, murdered in 1964
  • 1943-11-23 Andrew Goodman, civil rights worker, murdered in 1964

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1954-10-03 Al Sharpton [Alfred Charles], minister and civil rights activist (Keepin' It Real), born in Brooklyn, New York

Minister and Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton
Minister and Civil Rights Activist
Al Sharpton

Famous Weddings


HeartWedding of Interest

1910-02-03 Author James Weldon Johnson (38) weds civil rights activist Grace Nail Johnson (24) at her family's home

Writer and Civil Rights Activist James Weldon Johnson
Writer and Civil Rights Activist
James Weldon Johnson

HeartWedding of Interest

1932-12-18 Civil rights activist Rosa Parks (19) weds Raymond Parks (29) in Montgomery, Alabama

Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks
Civil Rights Activist
Rosa Parks

HeartWedding of Interest

1953-06-18 Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. (24) marries fellow activist and singer Coretta Scott (26)

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.

HeartWedding of Interest

1967-03-17 Novelist Alice Walker (23) weds civil rights lawyer Melvyn Leventhal in New York City

Novelist Alice Walker
Novelist
Alice Walker

Famous Deaths

  • 1817-09-09 Paul Cuffe, African American civil rights activist (helped settle Sierre Leone), dies at 58
  • 1874-03-11 Charles Sumner, a white civil rights leader, dies at 63
  • 1931-03-09 Ida B Wells-Barnett, African American civil rights activist, dies in Chicago at 78
  • 1939-03-19 Lloyd L. Gaines, American civil rights activist
  • 1954-07-24 Mary Church Terrell, educator/civil rights leader, dies at 90
  • 1955-05-18 Mary McLeod Bethune, educator & civil rights leader, dies at 79
  • 1955-09-07 Earnest Rabel, Austrian/US civil rights activist, dies at 81
  • 1964-06-21 Andrew Goodman, US civil rights activist, murdered at 20
  • 1964-06-21 James Chaney, US civil rights activist, murdered at 21
  • 1964-06-21 Michael Schwerner, US civil rights activist, murder at 21

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1965-02-26 Jimmie Lee Jackson, civil rights activist, dies from gunshot wounds at 26

Civil Rights Activist Jimmie Lee Jackson
Civil Rights Activist
Jimmie Lee Jackson
  • 1965-03-11 James Reeb, US vicar/civil rights activist, murdered
  • 1965-03-25 Viola Gregg Liuzzo, US civil rights activist, murdered
  • 1970-07-02 Jessie Street, Australian civil rights activist, dies
  • 1976-05-01 T.R.M. Howard, civil rights leader, entrepreneur, surgeon (b. 1908)
  • 1977-03-14 Fannie Lou Hamer, American civil rights activist (b. 1917)
  • 1979-05-16 Asa Philip Randolph, American labor leader & civil rights pioneer, dies at 90
  • 1981-09-08 Roy Wilkins, American civil rights activist and longtime executive director of NAACP, dies at 80
  • 1987-08-24 Bayard Rustin, US civil rights activist, dies at 77
  • 1988-06-05 Clarence M Pendleton, chairman of comm on Civil Rights (1981-88) dies
  • 1990-04-17 Ralph David Abernathy, US civil rights leader, dies
  • 1990-10-17 Ralph Abernathy, civil rights activist, dies at 64
  • 1991-01-21 Richard Bolling, (Rep-D-Mo)/US civil-rights leader, dies at 74
  • 1996-03-10 Lucius E Burch Jr, US civil rights leader, dies at 84
  • 1998-11-15 Stokely Carmichael, American civil rights activist (b. 1941)
  • 1998-12-14 Aloyisus Leon Higginbotham, Jr., American civil rights activist and author (b. 1928)
  • 2001-04-24 Leon Sullivan, African-American civil rights leader and pastor (b. 1922)
  • 2002-12-06 Philip Berrigan, American civil rights activist (b. 1923)
  • 2005-01-10 James Forman, American civil rights leader (b. 1928)
  • 2005-03-30 Fred Korematsu, American civil rights activist (b. 1919)
  • 2005-10-12 C. Delores Tucker, American politician and civil rights activist (b. 1927)
  • 2005-10-13 Vivian Malone Jones, American civil rights activist (b. 1942)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2005-10-24 Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, dies of natural causes at 92

Civil Rights Activist Rosa Parks
Civil Rights Activist
Rosa Parks
  • 2006-03-06 Anne Braden, American civil rights activist (b. 1924)
  • 2006-10-24 Enolia McMillan, American civil rights activist (b. 1904)
  • 2007-08-10 Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler, American member of Tuskegee Airmen and civil rights activist (b. 1925)
  • 2007-11-10 Augustus F. Hawkins, American politician and civil rights lawmaker (b. 1907)
  • 2008-12-02 Odetta [Odetta Holmes], American folk singer (Sanctuary), actress and civil rights activist, dies of heart disease at 77
  • 2008-12-19 James Bevel, 1960s Civil rights movement leader (b. 1936)
  • 2010-01-05 Murray Saltzman, Reform Jewish rabbi and civil rights leader (b. 1929)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2010-04-20 Dorothy Height, American civil rights activist, dies at 98

Women's and Civil Rights Activist Dorothy Height
Women's and Civil Rights Activist
Dorothy Height
  • 2010-05-24 Raymond V. Haysbert, African-American business executive and civil rights leader (b. 1920)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2011-10-05 Fred Shuttlesworth, American civil rights activist, dies at 89

Civil Rights Activist Fred Shuttlesworth
Civil Rights Activist
Fred Shuttlesworth
  • 2011-10-05 Derrick Bell, American legal scholar and civil rights advocate (b. 1930)
  • 2012-01-02 Gordon Hirabayashi, civil rights activist and WWII internment opponent dies after Alzheimer's disease at 93
  • 2012-01-03 Robert L Carter, American civil rights activist and judge, dies after complications from a stroke at 94
  • 2012-02-07 Patricia Stephens Due, African-American civil rights activist, dies from Alzheimer's disease at 72
  • 2015-02-27 Malcolm Boyd, American Episcopal Priest, author and civil rights activist, dies at 91
  • 2015-08-15 Julian Bond, American civil rights leader and politician (D-Ga), dies at 75
  • 2015-10-01 Don Edwards, American politician and civil rights champion (Rep-D-CA, 1963-94), dies at 100