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Plessy v. Ferguson
Supreme Court decision
handed down in 1896. The
court ruled that “separate
but equal” did not violate
the Fourteenth Amendment.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka – Supreme Court
decision that struck down segregation in schooling as an
unconstitutional violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal
Protection Clause. However, the court never gave a timeline
for when the schools needed to be desegregated. To speed
things up the court handed down a second ruling, known as
Brown II, that ordered desegregation implemented “with all
deliberate speed.”
Thurgood Marshall
Lawyer who represented Linda
Brown in the Brown v. Board
of Education case. Marshall
went on to become the first
African-American Supreme
Court justice.
“Little Rock Nine”
Nine high school students who volunteered to integrate
Little Rock’s Central High School. The Governor of
Arkansas tried to prevent the integration of the school by
sending the National Guard to block the nine students
from entering the school.
Civil Rights Act of 1957
This was the first civil rights law since reconstruction. The
law gave the attorney general power over desegregation. It
also gave the federal government jurisdiction over violations
of African American voting rights.
Rosa Parks – A seamstress and an
NAACP officer who refused to give
up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a
white man. The bus driver called the
police and Mrs. Parks was arrested
and put in jail. This event led to
African-Americans boycotting the
busses of Montgomery for 381 days.
Martin Luther King
Became the leader of the Civil
Rights Movement and
promoted nonviolent
resistance. He based his
beliefs and teachings on Jesus,
Henry David Thoreau, A.
Phillip Randolph , and
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
King became president of
this organization whose
purpose was “to carry on
nonviolent crusades against
evils of second-class
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
SNCC - Students at Shaw
University in Raleigh, North
Carolina organized this
group. African-American
students felt that the pace of
changes was moving to
Sit-ins – In February 1960, African-American students
from North Carolina’s Agricultural and Technical
College staged a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter at
a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro.
Congress of Racial Equality
CORE – An interracial
group founded in 1942 by
James Farmer to work
against segregation in
Northern cities.
Freedom Riders – A two-bus trip across the South that would
test the Supreme Court decisions banning segregated seating on
interstate bus routes and segregated facilities in bus terminals.
The busses were met by an angry white mob as they entered
Alabama and federal marshals had to be called in for protection.
James Meredith – Won a federal court
case that allowed him to enroll in the
all-white University of Mississippi.
However, the Governor of Mississippi
would not allow Meredith to register
as a student. Federal marshals were
called in by President Kennedy to
escort Meredith to the registrar’s
office. Riots erupted on campus.
Fred Shuttlesworth – Head
of the Alabama Christian
Movement for Human
Rights and secretary of the
March on Washington – 250,000 people including
75,000 whites came to the nation’s capital on August 28,
1963. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 –
Prohibited discrimination because of
race, religion, national origin, and
gender. It gave all citizens the right
to enter libraries, parks, washrooms,
restaurants, theaters, and other
public accommodations.
24th Amendment
Barred poll taxes in all states.
Only Alabama, Arkansas,
Mississippi, Texas, and
Virginia still had these laws
on the books.
Freedom Summer – In 1964, CORE and SNCC workers in
the South began registering as many African Americans as
they could to vote. They focused on the state of Mississippi.
Three young men, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner,
and Cheney were killed while trying to register African
Americans in Mississippi.
 Selma, Alabama – The SNCC was
registering voters in Alabama and many
were being arrested. After a demonstrator
named Jimmy Lee Jackson was killed, Dr.
King planned a 50-mile march from Selma
to Montgomery. The police fired tear gas
and beat protesters with their clubs.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 – This act was
passed ten weeks after the march in
Alabama. The act eliminated the so-called
literacy tests that had disqualified many
voters. The percentage of registered
African American voters in the South
de facto segregation
segregation that exists by
practice and custom.
de jure segregation
segregation by law.
Malcolm X – He studied the teaching of
Elijah Muhammad, the head of the
Nation of Islam. Believed that blacks
should separate from the white society.
His views changed after his pilgrimage
to Mecca (Ballots or Bullets). He was
assassinated on February 21, 1965.
Black Power – Became the battle cry of
militant civil rights activists.
Black Panthers – Political party formed
to fight police brutality in the ghetto.
Dressed in black leather jackets, black
berets, and sunglasses. Dr. King
objected to the Black Power movement.
1968 – Dr. King was assassinated by James Earl Ray at the
Lorraine Motel on April 3, 1968. Robert F. Kennedy was
campaigning in Indianapolis the day Dr. King was
assassinated. At an appearance later that night he called for
calm within the country, however, riots broke out all over the
Civil Rights Act of 1968
ended the discrimination in
Affirmative Action
programs that involve
making specific efforts to
hire or enroll groups that
have suffered