Hard Work Is the Key to Success

Topics: Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy Pages: 6 (2074 words) Published: September 17, 2013
Brief Timeline of the American Civil Rights Movement (1954 – 1965) 1954 - Brown v. Board of Education: In the 1950’s, school segregation was widely accepted throughout the nation. In fact, law in most Southern states required it. In 1952, the Supreme Court heard a number of school-segregation cases, including Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case decided unanimously in 1954 that segregation was unconstitutional, overthrowing the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that had set the “separate but equal” precedent. 1955 – Mississippi and the Emmett Till Case: The Supreme Court decision fueled violent segregationist backlash against black citizens by gangs of whites who committed beatings, burnings, and lynchings, usually with impunity, since all-white juries notoriously refused to convict whites for killing blacks. “The usual reasons for murder ranged from stealing food to talking back to a white person” (Williams 39). However, in 1955, two black men were murdered for trying to register black voters. But the case that drew the most national publicity was the murder of 14 year old Emmett Till, a teenager from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi that summer. On a dare from his pals, Emmett spoke flirtatiously to a white woman, saying “Bye, Baby” as he left a local store. Several nights later the woman’s husband and her brother forced Emmett into their car and drove away. Till’s body was found three days later in the Tallhatchie River. There was barbed wire around his neck, a bullet in his skull, one eye gouged out, and his forehead was crushed on one side. Despite overwhelming evidence of guilt based on eye-witness testimony, Bryant and Milan were found “not guilty” by an all-white, all-male jury. “The murder of Emmett Till had a powerful impact on a new generation of blacks. It was this generation, those who were adolescents when Till was killed, that would soon demand justice and freedom in a way unknown in America before” (Williams 57). 1955 - Montgomery Bus Boycott: Rosa Parks, a 43-year-old black seamstress, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat near the front of a bus to a white man. The following night, fifty leaders of the Negro community met at Dexter Ave. Baptist Church to discuss the issue. Among them was the young minister, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The leaders organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would deprive the bus company of 65% of its income, and cost Dr. King a $500 fine or 386 days in jail. He paid the fine, and eight months later, the Supreme Court decided, based on the school segregation cases, that bus segregation violated the constitution. 1957 - Desegregation at Little Rock: Little Rock Central High School was to begin the 1957 school year desegregated. On September 2, the night before the first day of school, Governor Faubus announced that he had ordered the Arkansas National Guard to monitor the school the next day. When a group of nine black students arrived at Central High on September 3, they were kept from entering by the National Guardsmen. On September 20, judge Davies granted an injunction against Governor Faubus and three days later the group of nine students returned to Central High School. Although the students were not physically injured, a mob of 1,000 townspeople prevented them from remaining at school. Finally, President Eisenhower ordered 1,000 paratroopers and 10,000 National Guardsmen to Little Rock, and on September 25, Central High School was desegregated. 1960 - Sit-in Campaign: After having been refused service at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina, Joseph McNeill, a Negro college student, returned the next day with three classmates to sit at the counter until they were served. They were not served. The four students returned to the lunch counter each day. When an article in the New York Times drew attention to the students' protest, more students, both black and white, joined them,...
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