Events

The Events browse is an access feature for collections in CRDL.

1953

  • Baton Rouge Bus Boycott

    In 1953, Baton Rouge, Louisiana became the site of the first large-scale bus boycott to protest a city's segregated bus system. The eight-day boycott became a blueprint for the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.

1954

  • Brown versus Board of Education

    The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education was a watershed event in the history of the United States. The landmark ruling had it roots in Topeka, Kansas, in 1951 when, Oliver Brown, an African American minister and welder, called upon the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for legal assistance after the city's school board refused to enroll his daughter in an all-white school....

1955

  • Emmett Till murder

    In August of 1955 Mamie Till, a black working-class single mother from Chicago, sent her fourteen year old son, Emmett, to visit relatives in Leflore County, Mississippi. On August 24 Till, along with several friends, traveled to nearby Money, a small, deeply-segregated town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta where the youth reportedly whistled and made advances toward a white woman when he entered Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market. Several days following the alleged...
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Local authorities in Montgomery, Alabama, arrested Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, when she refused to vacate her seat in the white section of a city bus on December 1, 1955. To protest Parks' arrest and the continued segregation of Montgomery's bus lines, members of the city's black community formed the Montgomery Improvement Association on December 4, 1955, and launched a community wide boycott to compel the system's integration. Under the leadership of Martin Luther King,...

1956

  • Montgomery Bus Boycott

    Local authorities in Montgomery, Alabama, arrested Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, when she refused to vacate her seat in the white section of a city bus on December 1, 1955. To protest Parks' arrest and the continued segregation of Montgomery's bus lines, members of the city's black community formed the Montgomery Improvement Association on December 4, 1955, and launched a community wide boycott to compel the system's integration. Under the leadership of Martin Luther King,...

1957

  • Civil Rights Act of 1957

    On September 9, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Originally proposed by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, the Act marked the first occasion since Reconstruction that the federal government undertook significant legislative action to protect civil rights. Although influential southern congressman whittled down the bill's initial scope, it still included a number of important provisions for the protection of voting rights. It established the Civil Rights Division in...
  • Highlander Folk School 25th Anniversary

    Between 1932 and 1962, the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee, provided a valuable training ground for two generations of southern labor organizers and Civil Rights activists. During the 1930s and 1940s, the school was instrumental in unionizing textile, timber, and mine workers throughout the region, often working in concert with national organizations such as the Congress of Industrial Organizations. In the 1950s, Highlander became a seedbed of Civil Rights activism, holding regular educational workshops...
  • Little Rock Central High School Integration

    The desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, gained national attention on September 3, 1957, when Governor Orval Faubus mobilized the Arkansas National Guard in an effort to prevent nine African American students from integrating the high school. After several failed attempts to negotiate with Faubus, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took action against the defiant governor by simultaneously federalizing the Arkansas National Guard, removing the Guard from Faubus' control, and ordering one thousand...
  • Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Washington, D.C.

    The Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington for Freedom took place on May 17, 1957, when a crowd of over thirty thousand nonviolent demonstrators, from more than thirty states, gathered at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the third anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. In addition to celebrating the three-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision to end segregation in public education, the Prayer Pilgrimage also dramatized...

1958

  • Temple Bombing (Atlanta, Ga.)

    In the early hours of October 12, 1958, fifty sticks of dynamite exploded in a recessed entranceway at the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, Atlanta's oldest and most prominent synagogue, more commonly known as "the Temple." The incident was but the most recent in a string of bombings throughout the nation affecting churches and synagogues associated with the Civil Rights movement. For Atlanta's Jewish community, the event evoked memories of the notorious lynching of Leo Frank half...

1960

  • New Orleans school integration

    Two years following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, Federal District Court Judge, J. Skelly Wright, ordered the Orleans Parish School Board to design an effective plan for the desegregation of New Orleans' public schools. The ruling aroused significant local opposition, however, and parents, school board members, city leaders, and elected officials moved to secure state legislation to overturn Wright's decision. After four years of circumventing the court-ordered desegregation, the school board finally...
  • Sit-ins: Atlanta, Ga.

    In March 1960, students representing Atlanta's six historically black colleges organized a series of sit-ins at area lunch counters to protest the city's legally sanctioned segregation. Local retailers subsequently agreed to negotiate with representatives from the recently formed student group Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR), but neither side evinced a willingness to compromise. Protests expanded when negotiations stalled, and student leaders persuaded Martin Luther King, Jr. to participate in a bid for greater...
  • Sit-ins: Greensboro, N.C.

    On February 1, 1960 four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College students entered the F. W. Woolworth Co. department store in Greensboro, North Carolina and staged a sit-in at the store's segregated lunch counter. Upon taking their seats at the "whites-only" lunch counter, Ezell A. Blair, Jr., Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond attempted to order coffee, but were denied service and asked to leave by the store's manager. The four...
  • Sit-ins: Nashville, Tenn.

    The Nashville sit-in movement is widely regarded as one of the most successful and sustained student-directed sit-in campaigns of the Civil Rights movement. Contributing to its success was the leadership and organization provided by noted pacifist, James M. Lawson. During the late winter months of 1959, Lawson and the Nashville Student Movement, an organization comprised of students from the city's four African American colleges, made plans to launch a large-scale sit-in campaign targeting segregated restaurants...

1961

  • Albany Movement

    In November 1961, residents of Albany, Georgia, launched an ambitious campaign to eliminate segregation in all facets of local life. The movement captured national attention one month later when local leaders invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to join the protest. Despite King's involvement, the movement failed to secure concessions from local officials and was consequently deemed unsuccessful by many observers. Subsequent appraisals, however, have identified the movement as a formative learning experience for King and...
  • Freedom Rides

    On May 4, 1961, an interracial group of student activists under the auspices of the Congress of Racial Equality departed Washington D.C. by bus to test local compliance throughout the Deep South with two Supreme Court rulings banning segregated accommodations on interstate buses and in bus terminals that served interstate routes. The "Freedom Riders" traveled with limited difficulty through North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina, but encountered violent resistance in Alabama. A mob of angry...
  • Georgia Tech Integration

    To avoid the civil unrest that attended the University of Georgia's court-ordered desegregation, officials at Georgia Tech began plotting an integration strategy in January 1961. After months of careful planning, Tech President Edwin Harrison announced the following May that the school would admit three of thirteen black applicants for admission the following fall. Despite enjoying broad support from Atlanta's business and political communities, tensions remained high as the fall semester approached and school administrators took...
  • Housing Act of 1961

    On June 30, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Housing Act of 1961 : Public law 87-70, 75 Stat. 149, 87th Congress, (S. 1922) into effect, which allocated federal aid and played a key role in shaping housing policies and programs of that era by emphasizing affordability and open space land acquisition for communities in urban development projects. Passed during the 87th Congressional session, the 1961 Act built upon decades of previous legislation and...
  • University of Georgia Integration

    On January 6, 1961, federal district court Judge W. A. Bootle ordered the immediate admission of Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter to the University of Georgia, ending 160 years of segregation at the school. Bootle's decision precipitated a constitutional crisis for state legislators, who passed legislation several years earlier mandating an immediate cut-off of state funds to any white institution that admitted a black student. As rumors circulated Athens and Atlanta regarding the possibility of...

1962

  • Albany Movement

    In November 1961, residents of Albany, Georgia, launched an ambitious campaign to eliminate segregation in all facets of local life. The movement captured national attention one month later when local leaders invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to join the protest. Despite King's involvement, the movement failed to secure concessions from local officials and was consequently deemed unsuccessful by many observers. Subsequent appraisals, however, have identified the movement as a formative learning experience for King and...
  • Augusta Movement

    In March 1960, students from Augusta's historically black Paine College initiated the direct action phase of the city's Civil Rights movement when they organized sit-ins at area department stores. Biracial negotiations ensued, but the white negotiating committee ultimately reneged on their commitment to desegregate the city's lunch counters. White intransigence continued to foil the city's student-led reform movement until April 1962 when local businessmen reopened negotiations with student leaders to forestall negative publicity in advance...
  • NAACP convention in Atlanta

    In July 1962, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its annual convention in Atlanta. Although "the city too busy to hate" had recently integrated its lunch counters, the majority of public accommodations throughout Atlanta remained segregated and delegates were turned away from several downtown hotels. Despite the presence of robed clansmen picketing outside the convention hall, the organization's meeting proceeded without incident. Delegates called for an increased federal commitment to Civil...
  • Ole Miss Integration

    On September 30, 1962, riots erupted on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford where locals, students, and committed segregationists had gathered to protest the enrollment of James Meredith, a black Air Force veteran attempting to integrate the all-white school. Despite the presence of more than 120 federal marshals who were on hand to protect Meredith from harm, the crowd turned violent after nightfall, and authorities struggled to maintain order. When the smoke...

1963

  • Americus Movement

    Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) fieldworkers began organizing with black community leaders in Americus soon after their arrival in Sumter County in February 1963. The movement encountered stiff opposition from local officials, however, and all but collapsed the following July when four Civil Rights activists were arrested and charged with sedition in the wake of large scale direct action protests. Although voter registration drives and citizenship campaigns continued over the course of the next two...
  • Birmingham Bombing (Sixteenth Street Baptist Church)

    The bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was one of the deadliest acts of violence to take place during the Civil Rights movement and evoked criticism and outrage from around the world. On the morning of September 15, 1963, as the congregation's children prepared for annual Youth Day celebrations, a bomb exploded in the stairwell of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church killing four girls and injuring dozens of others in the assembly....
  • Birmingham Demonstrations

    Despite energetic organization on the local level, Birmingham, Alabama remained a largely segregated city in the spring of 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. and his colleagues at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched Project C (for confrontation), an ambitious program that wedded economic pressure and large scale direct action protest to undermine the city's rigid system of segregation. After conducting sit-ins, hosting mass meetings, and waging an economic boycott, the campaign received national...
  • Integration of Clemson University

    In January 1963 after a legal battle, Harvey Gantt became the first African American student to be accepted at Clemson University. In September of that same year, Lucinda Brawley was admitted as Clemson's first African American woman student.
  • John F. Kennedy's Assassination

    On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in a presidential motorcade. Shortly after the shooting, Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended and charged with the president's murder. Kennedy's assassination threatened to slow the growing momentum of the Civil Rights movement. While the first years of his presidency were largely overshadowed by the Cold War, President Kennedy publicly committed his administration to the cause of racial equality in the...
  • March on Washington

    On August 28, 1963, a quarter of a million Americans from across the United States converged on the nation's capitol in what was to become a defining moment in the Civil Rights movement. Plans for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom began in 1962 when A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, put forth the idea of a mass gathering on Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the economic...
  • Sedition Trial, Americus, Ga.

    After relocating to Sumter County in February 1963, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee fieldworkers Ralph Allen, Don Harris, and John Perdew launched voter registration and community organizing drives under the aegis of the Southwest Georgia Project. Members of Sumter's black community welcomed their arrival, and by July the three activists enjoyed sufficient support to lead large-scale direct action protests in the county seat of Americus. To suppress demands for reform, local authorities arrested the three fieldworkers...
  • University of Alabama Integration

    On May 16, 1963, a federal district court in Alabama ordered the University of Alabama to admit African American students Vivien Malone and James Hood during its summer session. The court's decision virtually ensured a showdown between federal authorities and Alabama Governor George Wallace who had made a campaign promise a year earlier to prevent the school's integration even if it required that he stand in the schoolhouse door. Despite receiving a federal court injunction...

1964

  • Americus Movement

    Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) fieldworkers began organizing with black community leaders in Americus soon after their arrival in Sumter County in February 1963. The movement encountered stiff opposition from local officials, however, and all but collapsed the following July when four Civil Rights activists were arrested and charged with sedition in the wake of large scale direct action protests. Although voter registration drives and citizenship campaigns continued over the course of the next two...
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson just a few hours after House approval on July 2, 1964. The act outlawed segregation in businesses such as theaters, restaurants, and hotels. It banned discriminatory practices in employment and ended segregation in public places such as swimming pools, libraries, and public schools.
  • Freedom Summer

    During the summer of 1964, hundreds of Northern college students traveled to Mississippi to help register black voters and encourage participation in the Civil Rights movement. Under the direction of the Council of Federated Organizations, the predominantly white students organized health clinics, established "freedom schools" to educate black school children, and sponsored voter registration drives throughout the state. Perhaps most importantly, student volunteers helped to establish the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which attempted to...
  • Heart of Atlanta/Pickrick trial

    In 1964, two Atlanta business owners captured national attention when they refused to comply with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Moreton Rolleston and Lester Maddox, owners of the Heart of Atlanta Motel and the Pickrick Restaurant respectively, sued to challenge the constitutionality of Section II of the Civil Rights Act, which barred segregation in all public accommodations on the basis that the practice inhibited the interstate movements of people and products. The cases were paired...
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Nobel Prize

    In 1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his dynamic leadership of the Civil Rights movement and steadfast commitment to achieving racial justice through nonviolent action. King accepted the award on December 10, 1964 in Oslo, Norway on behalf of the Civil Rights movement and pledged the prize money to the movement's continued development. At the age of thirty-five, King became the the youngest man, and only the second African...
  • New York Race Riots

    The New York Race Riots of 1964 were the first in a series of devastating race-related riots that ripped through American cities between 1964 and 1965. The riots began in Harlem, New York following the shooting of fifteen year-old James Powell by a white off-duty police officer on July 18, 1964. Charging that the incident was an act of police brutality, an estimated eight thousand Harlem residents took to streets and launched a large-scale riot,...
  • New York School Boycott

    In one of the largest demonstrations of the Civil Rights movement, hundreds of thousands of parents, students and civil rights advocates took part in a citywide boycott of the New York City public school system to demonstrate their support for the full integration of the city's public schools and an end to de facto segregation. The idea for a boycott began in the early 1960s, when Milton Galamison, a Presbyterian minister and former president of...

1965

  • Americus Movement

    Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) fieldworkers began organizing with black community leaders in Americus soon after their arrival in Sumter County in February 1963. The movement encountered stiff opposition from local officials, however, and all but collapsed the following July when four Civil Rights activists were arrested and charged with sedition in the wake of large scale direct action protests. Although voter registration drives and citizenship campaigns continued over the course of the next two...
  • SCOPE project

    On June 14, 1965, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched an innovative grassroots organizing campaign, the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project. Under the direction of WW II veteran Hosea Williams, SCOPE sought to build upon the momentum of the Medgar Evers led NAACP in Mississippi, 1964 Freedom Summer, as well as the voting rights stuggle that culminated in the Selma-Montgomery March. The project placed nearly five hundred predominantly white college students...
  • Selma-Montgomery March

    To protest local resistance to black voter registration in Dallas County, Alabama, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organized a mass march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965. Under the leadership of John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the SCLC's Hosea Williams, a column of five hundred to six hundred demonstrators marched without incident through the streets of Selma until reaching the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they were brutally attacked...
  • Watts Riots

    The Watts Riot, which raged for six days and resulted in more than forty million dollars worth of property damage, was both the largest and costliest urban rebellion of the Civil Rights era. The riot spurred from an incident on August 11, 1965 when Marquette Frye, a young African American motorist, was pulled over and arrested by Lee W. Minikus, a white California Highway Patrolman, for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. As a crowd on...

1967

  • Loving v. Virginia

    "In Loving v. Virginia, decided on June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriages as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment."--Encyclopedia of Virginia

1968

  • Dr. King's Assassination

    On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by a sniper's bullet while standing on the second-floor balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. As news of King's death spread, violent riots broke out in African American neighborhoods in over one hundred cities across the United States. King, who was the nation's foremost civil rights leader, had returned to Memphis to lead a nonviolent march in support of the...
  • Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

    Longstanding tensions between disgruntled African American sanitation workers and Memphis city officials erupted on February 12, 1968 when nearly one thousand workers refused to report to work demanding higher wages, safer working conditions, and recognition of their union, local 1733 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Despite organizing city-wide boycotts, sit-ins, and daily marches, the city's sanitation workers were initially unable to secure concessions from municipal officials. At the urging of...
  • Orangeburg Massacre

    "On February 8, 1968, South Carolina Highway Patrolmen opened fire on African American college students protesting against ongoing segregation in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Three students were killed and twenty-eight wounded. This shooting was one of the most violent events in South Carolina's twentieth century civil rights history."--Low Country Digital History Intitiative, https://ldhi.library.cofc.edu/exhibits/show/orangeburg-massacre.
  • Poor People's Campaign

    In the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, the fate of his final cause, the Poor People's Campaign, faced an uncertain future. As chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King committed the organization's resources to the Poor People's Campaign in 1967, in response to the string of urban riots that had recently occurred in New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Los Angeles. The goal of the campaign was to emphasize the plight...
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