Civil Rights Terms 1857-1963

1857: The Dred Scott Decision

Dred Scott was a slave who claimed that since he was in free territory, he should be free as well. Chief Justice Roger Taney disagreed, and stated that no African American will ever have American Citizenship.

1863: The Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln gave an order called the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves would be free in the Confederate States. The Union had no power over Confederate States, so this proclamation was not very effective.

1865: The 13th Amendment

The 13th amendment was added on by Lincoln, and banned any form of slavery. The amendment also canceled any old laws that supported slavery. The amendment was approved by 27 of 36 states.

1868: The 14th Amendment

The 14th amendment changed the Dred Scott Decision, and stated that anyone, no matter what, if they were born in the United States could be an American Citizen.

1870: The 15th Amendment

The 15th amendment gave all men the right to vote. Before, even if an African American had not been a slave, they still couldn't vote. It will be several years later before women will be allowed to vote.

1896: Plessy vs Ferguson

Plessy vs Ferguson was a Supreme Court case which ruled that segregation was ok as long as accommodations were the same. There were separate water fountains, medical care, and public schools.

1954: Brown vs. Board

Supreme Court ruled that separate schools were unconstitutional which was directly against Plessy vs Ferguson case. This law allowed black students to go to school with white students.

1955-1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott

On buses, African Americans had separate seats from white people. Rosa Parks was an African American that refused to give up her seat for a white man. She was arrested and put in jail. Most African Americans did not use the bus for over a year, and this ended segregated buses.

1957: Little Rock Nine

The Little Rock Nine were nine black students who attended a previously all white school. Even though Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional, some schools and the governor didn't support this.

1960: Sit-ins

On February 1, 1960 four black college students sat down at a segregated restaurant. The restaurant wouldn't serve them and they refused to get up. This was their peaceful way of protesting segregation. This occurred all over the south.

1960: Ruby Bridges

In November 1960, first grader Ruby Bridges attended a previously all white school in New Orleans. She was escorted by federal marshals. Although many white students were pulled out of school, she graduated high school and college.

1961: Freedom Riders

Some people rode buses to areas of south that were segregated to protest laws. These people were called Freedom Riders. Freedom Riders were all different races, and believed segregation was wrong.

1962: James Meredith

James Meredith was accepted to the University of Mississippi in 1962. When they found out that he was black, he was rejected. The Supreme Court ruled that he would attend, and was escorted by US marshals. He eventually graduated with a degree in political science.

August 18, 1963: "I have a Dream" Speech

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr., led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Over 250,000 people gathered, and called for US citizens to end segregation. He also encouraged the president to pass laws against discrimination.


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