Civil Rights Terms 1857-1963

The Dred Scott Decision (1857)

Dred Scott was a slave when he traveled to Illinois and Minnesota with his master. he claimed that since he was in free territory, then he should be freed. Chief Justice Roger Taney disagreed and said that Dred Scott was still a slave since he was the property of his owner. Taney also ruled that slaves would never have American citizenship. this case is referred to as the "Dred Scott Decision"

The Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

The Emancipation Proclamation was a order that Abraham Lincoln gave in 1863. This declared that all slaves were free inn the Confederate States. The problem was that the Union had no power over the confederate States, therefore the proclamation was not effective.

The 13th Amendment (1865)

When the Civil War ended, Lincoln decided that he needed to make an amendment or add-on to the Constitution to abolish slavery. The 13th Amendment was ratified by 27 out of 36 states.

The 14th Amendment (1868)

After the Dred Scott Decision, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said that no African American person living in the U.S. would ever be a citizen. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was ratified in 27 out of 36 states. This amendment stated that any person that was born in the United States, could be an U.S. citizen.

The 15th Amendment (1870)

Before 1870, African Americans were not given the right to vote in a federal election. The 15th Amendment gave African American men thee right to vote, but it would be several years before women were given the right to vote.

Separate but Equal (1896)

The Supreme Court decided in the famous case "Plessy vs. Ferguson," that it is okay to have segregation between whites and blacks if the accommodations were separate but equal.

Brown vs. the Board of Education (1954)

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This law made it possible for black and white students to attend school together..

Montgomerey Bus Boycott (1955)

In Montgomery and in other placesin the United States, there were separate seats on the bus for blck and white people. One day, Rosa Parks refused to give up a seat in the front of the bus for a white man. She was arrested and thrown in jail. For over a year, African Americans refused to ride the city buses. Finally on December 21, 1956, The supreme Court ruled that segarared bus rules were unconstitutional.

Little Rock Nine (1957)

Even though the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional, many schools were still segregated. In 1957, nine black student s tried to attend Little Rock Central High. The governor of the state tried to prevent this by sending the National Guard, but the president overruled this.

Sit-ins (February 1960)

Many other areas of life remained segregated including some restaurants and lunch counters. On February 1st 1960 four black college students sat down at one of these lunch counters in Greensboro North Carolina. the restaurants would not serve them but the students refused to give up. this was their type of protesting and this was called a sit in.

Ruby Bridges (November 1960)

New Orleans schools were still segregated in 1960. First Grader Ruby Bridges was chosen as one of the black students to attend a previously white school. She and her mother were escorted to school by federal marshals. Many of the white students were pulled out of the school by their parents, but Ruby continued to attend and eventually graduated.

Freedom Riders (1961)

Some people decided to protest segregation in different ways. Freedom Riders were people who rode buses to segregated areas of the south to protest and challenge the laws. The freedom riders were people of many different races who all believed that segregation was wrong.

James Meredith (1962)

Even some colledges were segregated at this time. James Meredith appiled and got accepted to attend the University of Mississippi, but when the school's officials learned his race, they rejected his application. The Supreme Court ruled that he could attend, but when he arrived at the college, the entrance was blocked. Eventually, he was able to successfully attend and graduate with a degree in political science.

"I Have a Dream" Speech (1963)

In August 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous speech to a crowd of over 250,000 people. The people had gathered as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He called for US citizens to end racism. His speech and the march encouraged the president to pass laws against discrimination.


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