Civil Rights Timeline

13th Amendment: January 31, 1865 ratified December 6, 1865 The 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

14th Amendment: June 13, 1866 ratified July 9, 1868 The amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. The amendment was bitterly contested, particularly by southern states, which were forced to ratify it in order for them to regain representation in Congress

15th Amendment: February 26, 1869 ratified February 3, 1870 Granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

19th Amendment: June 4, 1919 ratified August 18, 1920 The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest.

Desegregation of the Armed Forces: July 26, 1948 President Harry Truman issued an executive order abolishing segregation in the armed forces and ordering full integration of all the services. Executive Order 9981 stated that "there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin."

Dr. King and the Montgomery Bus Boycott: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which African Americans refused to ride city buses in Montgomery, Alabama, to protest segregated seating, took place from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, and is regarded as the first large-scale demonstration against segregation in the U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ordered Montgomery to integrate its bus system, and one of the leaders of the boycott, a young pastor named Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68), emerged as a prominent national leader of the American civil rights movement.

Civil Rights Act of 1957: September 9,1957 It established the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department, and empowered federal officials to prosecute individuals that conspired to deny or abridge another citizen’s right to vote. It was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Freedom Rides: May 4, 1961 A series of bus trips through the American South to protest segregation in interstate bus terminals. The Freedom Riders, who were recruited by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) departed from Washington, D.C., and attempted to integrate facilities at bus terminals along the way into the Deep South.

24th Amendment: August 27, 1962 ratified January 23, 1964 Prohibits requiring a poll tax for voters in federal elections.

March on Washington D.C.: August 28, 1963 Organized by a number of civil rights and religious groups, the event was designed to shed light on the political and social challenges African Americans continued to face across the country. The march, which became a key moment in the growing struggle for civil rights in the United States, culminated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a spirited call for racial justice and equality.

Civil Rights Act of 1964: July 2, 1964 This act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal.This document was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

Head Start: January 1964 Head Start was designed to help break the cycle of poverty, providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs.

Upward Bound: 1964 Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.

Great Society: 1964-1965 To this end, Johnson proposed an expansion in the federal government's role in domestic policy. During his administration, Congress enacted two major civil-rights acts (1964 and 1965), the Economic Opportunity Act (1964), and two education acts (1965).

FHA: April 1968 the Fair Housing Act– prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex.

26th Amendment: March 23, 1971 ratified July 1, 1971 The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right of US citizens, eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age.

Voting Rights of 1965: May 26, 1972 The act banned the use of literacy tests, provided for federal oversight of voter registration in areas where less than 50 percent of the nonwhite population had not registered to vote, and authorized the U.S. attorney general to investigate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections.

Title IX: June 23, 1972 the President signed Title IX of the Education Amendments into law. Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.

Comment Stream