In February 1960, four black students took a stand against segregation in Greensboro, North Carolina when they sat down at a whites-only lunch counter and refused to leave. Their movement spread as hundreds of demonstrators went back to that lunch counter every day, and tens of thousands across various cities lead peaceful sit-ins and demonstrations.
On May 4, 1961, thirteen “Freedom Riders”—seven Black and six white activists–mounted a Greyhound bus in Washington, D.C., embarking on a bus tour of the American south to protest segregated bus terminals. The tour drew international attention but not without challenges. The riders faced violence from police and white protesters.
March on Washington
On August 28, 1930, more than 200,000 people of all races congregated in Washington, D.C. for a peaceful march with the purpose of forcing civil rights legislation and establishing job equity for everyone. The highlight of the event was the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil Rights Acts
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964—legislation initiated by President John F. Kennedy before his assassination—into law on July 2, 1964. Many civil rights activists witnessed the signing, including Martin Luther King, Jr. The law guaranteed equal employment for all, allowed federal authorities to ensure public facilities were integrated, and gave the Justice Department permission to sue states that discriminated against women and minorities. A year later, a new version of the act was signed by the president. The new law limited the use of voter literacy tests and allowed the attorney general to contest state and local poll taxes.
On March 7, 1965, six hundred demonstrators participated in a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to protest the killing of a Black civil rights activist, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a white police officer. As protestors neared the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were blocked by Alabama state and local police who were sent by Governor George C. Wallace, a vocal opponent of desegregation. When protestors moved forward, they were brutally beaten and teargassed. The incident was televised, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was able to curb a retaliation with violence.
Loss of Civil Rights Leaders
The civil rights movement had tragic consequences for two of its leaders.
Fair Housing Act of 1968
On April 11, 1968, just days after King’s assassination, the Fair Housing Act became law. It prevented housing discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, and religion. It was also the last legislation enacted during the civil rights era.
Excerpts from www.history.com/topics/1960s/1960s-history