Brown v. Board of Education, 1954
Fifty years ago, on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which eliminated discrimination on the basis of race, along with sex, in the workplace. But, this historic bill was not created overnight.
Above: Lawyers for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., including Thurgood Marshall, helped end racially segregated schools. According to the US Courts website, the outcome of Brown v. Board declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.
Rosa Parks’ Arrest, 1955
Rosa Parks sat in the front of a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., as a Supreme Court ruling banning segregation on the city’s public transit vehicles took effect. According to the National Archives, Parks was arrested for violating segregation laws. She became known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”
Central High School Desegregation, 1957
Troops escorted nine black students into Central High School to begin desegregation of the school in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 25, 1957. This came after President Eisenhower signed an executive order on September 23 which, according to the National Archives, sent Federal troops to maintain order and peace while integrating Central High School.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
Fannie Lou Hamer of Ruleville, MS, speaks to Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party sympathizers outside the Capitol in Washington on September 17, 1965. Hamer worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, according to Biography, which was a group that “engaged in acts of civil disobedience to fight racial segregation and injustice in the South.”
Passengers of this smoking Greyhound bus, some of the members of the “Freedom Riders,” a group sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), sat on the ground after the bus was set on fire in May 1961, by a mob of white people who followed the bus from the city. According to PBS, “From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South.”
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Martin Luther King Jr. listened at a meeting of the SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization formed by King after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott. The SCLC, according to Stanford University, had a goal of “redeeming ‘the soul of America’ through nonviolent resistance” and “was established in 1957, to coordinate the action of local protest groups throughout the South.”
March on Washington, 1963
Martin Luther King waved to supporters on August 28, 1963, on the Mall in Washington DC during the ‘March on Washington.’ According to Life, somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 people were in attendance and MLK, Jr. delivered his famous “Dream” speech.
Civil Rights Bill Is Signed
On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which eliminated discrimination on the basis of race, along with sex, in the workplace. But, this historic bill was not created overnight. Johnson was surrounded by (left to right): Charles Halleck, William McCulloch, Representative Peter Rodino of New Jersey, Martin Luther King, Emanuel Celler, Representative John Lindsay of New York, and others.