A Timeline of Major Events in the American Civil Rights Movement

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Civil Rights Movement: 1890-1900 1890: The state of Mississippi adopts poll taxes and literacy tests to discourage black voters. 1895: Booker T. Washington delivers his Atlanta Exposition speech, which accepts segregation of the races. 1896: The Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson the separate but equal treatment of the races is constitutional. 1900-1910 1900-1915: Over one thousand blacks are lynched in the states of the former Confederacy. 1905: The Niagara Movement is founded by W.E.B. du Bois and other black leaders to urge more direct action to achieve black civil rights. 1910-1920 1910: National Urban League is founded to help the conditions of urban African Americans. 1920-1930 1925: Black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey is convicted of mail fraud. 1928: For the first time in the 20th century an African American is elected to Congress. 1930-1940 1931: Farrad Muhammad establishes in Detroit what will become the Black Muslim Movement. 1933: The NAACP files -and loses- its firs suit against segregation and discrimination in education. 1938: The Supreme Court orders the admission of a black applicant to the University of Missouri Law School 1941: A. Philip Randoph threatens a massive march on Washington unless the Roosevelt administration takes measures to ensure black employment in defense industries; Roosevelt agrees to establish Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). 1942: The congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is organized in Chicago. 1943: Race riots in Detroit and Harlem cause black leaders to ask their followers to be less demanding in asserting their commitment to civil rights; A. Philip Randolph breaks ranks to call for civil disobedience against Jim Crow schools and railroads. 1946: The Supreme Court, in Morgan v. The Commonwealth of Virginia, rules that state laws requiring racial segregation on buses violates the Constitution when applied to interstate passengers. 1947: Jackie Robinson breaks the color line in major league baseball. 1947: To Secure These Rights, the report by the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, is released; the commission, appointed by President Harry S. Truman, recommends government action to secure civil rights for all Americans. 1948: President Harry S. Truman issues an executive order desegregating the armed services. 1950-1960 1950: The NAACP decides to make its legal strategy a full-scale attack on educational segregation. 1954: First White Citizens Council meeting is held in Mississippi. 1954: School year begins with the integration of 150 formerly segregated school districts in eight states; many other school districts remain segregated.

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