February 21, 1965: Black religious leader Malcolm X is assassinated during a rally by members of the Nation of Islam.
July 2, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, preventing employment discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Title VII of the Act establishes the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help prevent workplace discrimination.
September 15, 1963: A bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama kills four young girls and injures several other people prior to Sunday services. The bombing fuels angry protests.
August 28, 1963: Approximately 250,000 people take part in The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Martin Luther King gives the closing address in front of the Lincoln Memorial and states, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' "
June 11, 1963: Governor George C. Wallace stands in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block two black students from registering. The standoff continues until President John F. Kennedy sends the National Guard to the campus.
February 1, 1960: Four college students in Greensboro, North Carolina refuse to leave a Woolworth’s “whites only” lunch counter without being served. Their nonviolent demonstration sparks similar “sit-ins” throughout the city and in other states.
September 9, 1957: Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law to help protect voter rights. The law allows federal prosecution of those who suppress another’s right to vote.
September 4, 1957: Nine black students known as the “Little Rock Nine,” are blocked from integrating into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
January 10-11, 1957: Sixty black pastors and civil rights leaders from several southern states—including Martin Luther King, Jr.—meet in Atlanta, Georgia to coordinate nonviolent protests against racial discrimination and segregation.
The civil rights movement was an organized effort by black Americans to end racial discrimination and gain equal rights under the law.