Eugene "Bull" Connor

.       Police chief in Alabama during anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, 1963

.       Ordered police to use dogs, night sticks, fire hoses to break up demonstrations

.       Images of violence symbolized brutal aspects of white resistance to black equality


Orval Faubus

.       Democratic Governor of Arkansas from 1955 to 1967

.       Opposed the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, deploying National Guardsmen to block Supreme Court-ordered school integration in 1957

.       Butted heads with President Dwight Eisenhower, who forced Faubus to comply

.       1958 Gallup Poll revealed that Americans picked him as one of "ten most admired men"


Charles Houston

.       Leader of the NAACP legal team in the 1930s, mentor of Thurgood Marshall

.       One of the first black lawyers to argue a case before the Supreme Court

.       Successfully prosecuted the Supreme Court case Gaines v. Canada to force the University of Missouri to admit black applicant Lloyd Gaines

.       Determined to prove that "separate but equal" doctrine of the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision was unconstitutional


Martin Luther King, Jr.

.       Baptist pastor who became most prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement

.       As member of Montgomery Improvement Association, led the Birmingham Bus Boycott, 1955-1956

.       Also launched series of protests against segregation in downtown Birmingham, 1963

.       Served as one of the key organizers of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963


Thurgood Marshall

.       First African American to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, 1967

.       Key lawyer for the NAACP legal team in the 1940s and 1950s

.       Helped pull together the five class action lawsuits that led to Supreme Court overturning school segregation in Brown v. Board


Rosa Parks

.       Most familiar female icon of the Civil Rights Movement

.       Arrested and jailed for refusing to give up her seat to white man on Montgomery city bus, 1955

.       Member of NAACP at time of arrest; not the first black citizen to resist segregation laws in the South

.       Inspired one-day bus boycott that led to year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott


Philip Randolph

.       Leader of Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a union of black railway workers

.       Proposed March on Washington in 1941 to protest racial discrimination in war industries and in the military

.       Cancelled the March when President Roosevelt agreed to sign Executive Order 8802


Emmett Till

.       14-year-old black boy murdered by two white men in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman, 1955

.       Disturbing images of his mutilated corpse published in Jet magazine

.       His murder inspired new, urgent fighting spirit that helped enlarge Civil Rights Movement




1938 Gaines v. Canada

.       Supreme Court case regarding a black man, Lloyd Gaines, denied entrance into U of Missouri School of Law because of his race

.       Court ruled in favor of Gaines and ordered his admission to U of Missouri

.       NAACP's success provided momentum for later court battles against segregation


1941 Executive Order 8802

.       Issued by President Franklin Roosevelt before the U.S. joined WWII

.       Result of pressure from black civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph

.       Banned discrimination in defense industries during wartime

.       Increased job opportunities for racial minorities, especially blacks


1945 Truman Inaugurated

.       Democratic Vice President Harry S. Truman became president after death of President Roosevelt

.       Although his ancestors owned slaves, he committed himself to challenging Jim Crow

.       Twice tried but failed to get Congress to pass an extensive civil rights program with national laws against lynching, equal access to education, and voter protection

.       Issued Executive Order 9981, which desegregated armed forces, 1948


1954 Brown v. Board

.       NAACP pulled together 5 class action lawsuits for this case

.       Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were "inherently unequal"

.       Court ordered desegregation of public schools, but no firm timeline for integration

.       Ended half century in which segregation was accepted as law of the land


1955 Emmett Till Murdered

.       Till, 14-year-old black boy, kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by two white men in Mississippi who claimed Till had whistled at one of their wives

.       Killers acquitted of the crime by all-male, all-white jury one month later

.       Images of Till's mangled corpse published nationwide

.       Huge impact on African Americans; inspired many to fight for civil rights


1956 Victory in Montgomery Bus Boycott

.       After nearly a year of protests, Supreme Court ordered an end to segregation on public transportation

.       Boycott ended by vote by Montgomery Improvement Association


1956 Presidential Election

.       Republican Dwight Eisenhower defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson

.       Under Eisenhower, U.S. government passed first civil rights bill since 1875

.       Eisenhower's term coincided with rise of the Civil Right Movement

.       Though a conservative leader who didn't support full integration, Eisenhower did comply with Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board and deployed federal troops to enforce it


1960 Presidential Election

.       Democrat John F. Kennedy defeated Republican Vice President Richard Nixon

.       In his first State of the Union, JFK didn't mention civil rights struggles

.       Moved slowly to introduce civil rights legislation


1963 Birmingham Strikes

.       Series of non-violent anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, Alabama

.       Launched by Martin Luther King, Jr.

.       Police Chief Eugene "Bull" Connor ordered his department to use fire hoses, police dogs, and night sticks to break up demonstrations

.       Images of the violent episodes broadcast worldwide, revealing severity of white resistance to black equality


1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

.       Some 250,000 protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., August 1963

.       Called for passage of a civil rights bill, a plan to reduce unemployment, and an increase in the national minimum wage

.       Leaders and speakers included Martin Luther King, Jr. who delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech

.       Inspired by A. Phillip Randolph's idea for a similar march in the early 1940s









National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

.       Civil-rights organization founded in the early 20th century by prominent black leaders and white allies

.       Its success in Gaines v. Canada provided momentum for later court battles against segregation laws


Women's Political Council

.       Group of professional black women in Montgomery, Alabama

.       Documented instances of blacks denied bus transfers, forced to pay extra fines, or verbally abused, assaulted, or arrested

.       Leaders included Jo Ann Robinson, professor at all-black college

.       Planned one-day bus boycott that grew into year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott





"Double V" Campaign

.       Term coined by black leaders during World War II

.       Described two-front battle blacks would have to fight for "victory over our enemies at home"—racism—"and victory over our enemies on the battlefields abroad"—fascism.


Freedom Rides

.       Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

.       Black and white volunteers traveled on buses and trains in the South to challenge segregation laws

.       Freedom Riders' buses bombed by angry whites opposed to integration

.       In response, the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered all interstate transportation integrated, September 1961


Jim Crow

.       Term first coined in 1830s, originally referred first to an exaggerated slave character played by white minstrel performer Thomas "Daddy" Rice

.       By early 20th century, term came to describe system of segregation that kept blacks and whites separate in public spaces



.       Protest strategies used to demand equal access to public facilities

.       Used by young civil rights activists beginning in 1960 to integrate Jim Crow parks, restaurants, pools, bowling alleys, libraries


"White Death"

.       Term coined by black writer Richard Wright to describe white-on-black crime, especially lynching

.       Most common in the years between the end of Radical Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement




Birmingham, Alabama

.       Site of Sheriff Bull Connor's violent suppression of peaceful civil rights demonstrations, 1963


Montgomery, Alabama

.       Site of yearlong Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955-56

.       Location of Martin Luther King's church