Civil rights movement
In the 1950's, school racial segregation was widely accepted all over America. In most Southern states the law allowed 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.
In August 1955 a case that drew the most national publicity was the murder of 14 year old Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi that summer. Although warned by his mother not to talk to whites, he ignored that warning, saying to a white woman "Bye, baby" as he left a local store. Several nights later Emmett was kidnapped by the woman's husband and his half-brother. They beat him to death,