Civil War, end of slavery, Congress passes 14th Amendment guaranteeing blacks
equal protection and, seemingly, public accommodation.
Southern states turn back freedoms guaranteed to blacks by the 14th Amendment.
Supreme Court decides Hall v. DeCuir (1878), which holds that one state cannot
enforce an integration law on another state due to the Interstate Commerce
Clause, and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which allows segregation so long as
facilities are "separate but equal," which in fact they were not.
Arthur Mitchell, a black congressman from Chicago, wins Supreme Court decision
outlawing segregation in first class travel, establishing that "separate
but equal" accommodations must indeed be equal.
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) formed in Chicago by Jim Farmer, George
Houser and Berniece Fisher. Houser and Farmer also work as race relations
secretaries for the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Irene Morgan arrested in Gloucester, Va., for refusing to give up her seat on an
interstate bus headed to Maryland. NAACP lawyers Thurgood Marshall and
Spottswood Robinson take her case.
Marshall and Robinson win Morgan
v. Virginia in the Supreme Court, basing their argument not on the 14th
Amendment, but Hall v. DeCuir. Their logic was if it is an "undue burden on
commerce" for one state to enforce an integration law on another, so too
would it be for a state to impose its segregation laws on interstate passengers.
With few Southern states enforcing the Morgan decision, George Houser, Bayard
Rustin and other leaders of the Congress of Racial Equality devise the idea of
an interstate "Journey of Reconciliation" to the Upper South, in which
whites and blacks would travel together, purposely violating local Jim Crow
Rustin and Houser lead eight white men and eight black men in the Journey of
Reconciliation through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. A
second trip is suggested for an interracial group of women, but does not
Rustin, Igal Roodenko and Joe Felmet sentenced to 30 days on a chain gang for
violating North Carolina Jim Crow laws on the Journey.
Supreme Court decides Brown
v. Board of Education, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson and holding
14-year-old Emmett Till is lynched in Money, Mississippi.
Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in
Montgomery, Ala., sparking a year-long bus boycott there led by the Rev. Martin
Luther King. Bayard Rustin serves as an advisor to the boycotters.
Under Jim Farmer, CORE launches a second Journey of Reconciliation, this time
called a "Freedom Ride," and this time targeting segregated bus
stations as well as the buses themselves. The travelers, which include women and
men, head to the Deep South, where they are brutally beaten. Jim Peck is the
only veteran of the 1947 journey to participate.
March on Washington held, in which Dr. King gives his "I Had a Dream"
speech. The event - then the largest mass protest to date in American history -
is largely organized by Rustin.
President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Congress passes Civil Rights Act, permanently guaranteeing equal public
Congress passes Voting Rights Act.