Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

American Civil Rights: Timeline

1857 (March 6) Dred Scott v. Sandford decision

1861-1865 Civil War

1863 (January 1) Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln

1865 (December 6) Thirteenth Amendment - Abolishes Slavery

1865-1877 Reconstruction

1871 (February 28) Enforcement Act of 1871

1877-1965 Jim Crow era

c.1910 - 1970 The Great Migration

1917 (May 28 & July 1-2) East St. Louis Riots

1919 Red Summer

1949 Groveland Four case

1921 (May 31 - June 1) Tulsa Race Riot (Greenwood Massacre)

Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

1955 (August 27) Murder of Emmett Till

1955 (December 1) Rosa Parks arrest

1955-1956 (December 21) Montgomery Bus Boycott / MLK / (MIA) Montgomery Improvement Association

1957 (February 14) Southern Christian Leadership Conference established

1961 (March 6) President Kennedy issues Executive Order 10925 / Affirmative Action

1961 (May) Freedom Riders

1962 (October 1) James Meredith became first Black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi

1963 (June 12) Medgar Evers murdered in Jackson, Mississippi

1964 (May 4) Freedom Summer organized by (COFO) / Freedom Riders / Registering Black Voters / CORE sends delegates to DNC to protest

1967 Thurgood Marshall becomes first African American Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

1971 Wilmington Ten

1988 (March 22) Overriding President Ronald Reagan's veto, Congress passed the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which expanded the reach of nondiscrimination laws within private institutions receiving federal funds

2003 (June 23) Grutter v. Bollinger - Supreme Court upheld University of Michigan Law School's policy, which ruled race could be one of factors colleges consider when selecting students because it furthered "a compelling interest in obtaining the educatio