There have been many important events throughout the course of the Civil Rights movement.
Listed below are five of the most important events in the movement.
April 15, 1947: Jackie Robinson makes sports history
While there are many professional African-American athletes in the United States today, there was once a time when all of the professional athletes in many sports were white. For instance, there was a baseball color line, a term denoting an era of American baseball when African Americans were excluded from Major League Baseball. Fortunately for the sport, Jackie Robinson broke this color line on April 15, 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers used him in a game as their first baseman. Robinson’s baseball career has led to many African Americans having professional careers, including Michael Jordan and O.J. Simpson.
May 17, 1954: Final outcome in Brown v. Board of Education
A significant United States Supreme Court case that helped give momentum to the Civil Rights movement is Brown v. Board of Education. This case ruled against segregated public schools, and while it was controversial at the time, demanded that African Americans be granted equal resources so that they could have the opportunity of having a good education.
December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks sits in the “white section” of a bus
Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was an African American who protested against buses being segregated among racial lines in the south. Though African Americans were expected to sit at the back of buses in the 1950s, Parks bravely refused to abide by this social norm and sat in front where only white people were supposed to be. She was subsequently arrested, but her action helped prove the unlawfulness of racial segregation on public buses.
January 20, 1961: former U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president
On January 20, 1961 former U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson officially became president. This was an important event in the civil rights movement as Johnson helped African Americans gain many important civil rights while he was president, including the organization of the “Great Society” reform. While in office, Johnson also helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
August 28, 1963: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) helped the Civil Rights movement in several ways, including delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech urged Americans to not judge African Americans based on their skin, but instead on their character. Although racism still exists in contemporary America, African Americans have gained much respect nationally because of the Civil Rights movement.
Lewis W. Diuguid, “Civil Rights movement changed America, former U.N. ambassador says,” Kansas City Star.
Stephen Tuck, “Civil Rights Movement,” New Georgia Encyclopedia.