American Racial History Timeline, 1960-2008

1960s

Negroes begin to appear on television as professionals and social equals. (Brown and Stentiford, 774)

1960

Boynton v. Virginia, Supreme Court outlaws segregated facilities in interstate travel. (Brown and Stentiford, 147)

February 1 – Greensboro Four in North Carolina, students at North Carolina A&T, start the sit-in movement at a segregated lunch counter at Woolworth’s, which quickly spreads all through the South. (Adams, 1 )

February 13 – James Lawson and associates launch a sit-in at downtown Nashville lunch counters. (Brown and Stentiford, 460)

April 16 – Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded in Raleigh, North Carolina and Marion Barry, the future mayor of Washington, D.C., is elected first SNCC national director. (Adams, 1)

May 6 – President Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1960 into law. (Adams, 1)

May 10 – Limited integration in downtown Nashville stores. (Brown and Stentiford, 461)

John F. Kennedy is elected president with large support from negro voters. (Brown and Stentiford, xxvii)

Louisiana – Voting rights [Statute]
Required that the race of all candidates named on ballots be designated. (Jim Crow History.org)

1961-1963, John F. Kennedy Administration

1961

January 21 – A negro Air Force veteran, James Meredith, completes his first application for admission to the all-white University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), at Oxford. (Adams, 2)

February 1 – James Farmer is elected national director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). (Adams, 2)

March 6 – JFK issues Executive Order 10925, created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and beginning affirmative action. (Adams, 2)

May 4 – The first Freedom Rides (which last for four weeks) begins in Washington, D.C., sparking violent white resistance in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. President Kennedy sends federal marshals to protect demonstrators . (Adams, 2) (Schuman et al, 54)

1962

JFK signs an executive order that curbed discrimination in federally associated housing and loans. (Brown and Stentiford, 723)

September 30 – Meredith’s admission to Ole Miss causes a riot, in which two people are killed. (Adams, 2)

November – Attorney General RFK and the Interstate Commerce Commission orders the desegregation of bus terminals. (Brown and Stentiford, 461)

November 20 – JFK issues Executive Order 11063, beginning federal oversight of racial discrimination in housing. (Adams, 2)

December – MLK arrives in Albany, GA to lead a local civil rights movement. (Brown and Stentiford, 21)

1963-1969, Lyndon B. Johnson Administration

1963

Georgia – Public carrier segregation barred [City Ordinance]
The city of Albany, Ga, repealed the ordinances which had required segregation in transportation, ticket sales and restaurants. (Jim Crow History.org)

Georgia – Public accommodations segregation barred [City Ordinance]
The city of Atlanta passed an ordinance which repealed all city ordinances “which required the separation of persons because of race, color or creed in public transportation, recreation, entertainment and other facilities. (Jim Crow History.org)

Screen adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. (Brown and Stentiford, 141)

Essayist and author James Baldwin publishes The Fire Next Time, a critique of the national resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. (Brown and Stentiford, xxviii)

April 3 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads his first march in Birmingham, Alabama. (Adams, 2)

April 12 – MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is published in the Birmingham News. (Adams, 2)

April 23 – A Baltimore postal worker, William Moore, is assassinated in Alabama as he makes his solo Chattanooga Freedom March. (Adams, 2)

May 2 – MLK and Birmingham civil rights leaders being using children in marches. (Adams, 2)

May 12 – The first serious riots in Birmingham over civil rights marches and Ku Klux Klan bombings. (Adams, 2)

May 13-18 – Black protests against racial discrimination begin in Cambridge, Maryland. (Adams, 2)

June 10 – The first Cambridge riot breaks out over civil rights demonstrations. (Adams, 2)

June 11 – JFK announces his plans to send a major new civil rights bill to Congress (Adams, 2)

Black students attempt to enroll at the University of Alabama. Governor Wallace engages in symbolic defiance, standing “in the schoolhouse door.” (Schuman et al, 54)

June 12 – Medgar Evers, field secretary for the Mississippi NAACP, is assassinated at his home, in Jackson. (Adams, 2)

June 22 – President Kennedy meets with negro leaders in the White House to discuss his civil rights bill and their proposed March on Washington. (Adams, 2)

Kennedy issues Executive Order 11114, extending affirmative action requirements to federally funded construction projects. (Adams, 2)

July 2 – MLK and other negro leaders meet in New York City to finalize their plans for a March on Washington. (Adams, 2)

August 18 – Meredith graduates from Ole Miss. (Adams, 2)

August 28 – The March on Washington, at which MLK makes his “I Have a Dream” speech, takes place. (Adams, 2)

September 9 – Birmingham schools begin desegregation. (Adams, 2)

September 15 – KKK bombs the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four children. (Adams, 3)

November 22 – JFK is assassinated in Dallas; Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) is sworn in as president. (Adams, 3)

Maryland passes a law desegregation public accomodations. (Brown and Stentiford, 168)

Alabama – Public accommodations and recreation [City Ordinance]
Repeated portions of Birmingham’s city code which had prohibited interracial recreation and had required separation of the races in restaurants and places of entertainment, and separate bathrooms for black and white employees. (Jim Crow History.org)

1964

Supreme Court rules in Griffin v. Prince Edward County that local authorities have to fund public education. (Brown and Stentiford, 215)

January 8 – LBJ makes his first State of the Union Address, promising to support civil rights reforms. (Adams, 3)

March 8 – Sioux Indians in San Francisco stage the first occupation of Alcatraz Island. (Adams, 3)

June 21 – Murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner near Philadelphia, Mississippi. (Adams, 3)

July 2 – LBJ signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation outlaws segregation in all public transportation, public accomodation, employment, and education. It also prohibited government financial support of any institution or agency practicing Jim Crow. (Brown and Stentiford, xxviii)

August 4 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) begins probing the murders near Philadelphia, Mississippi. (Adams, 3)

August 20 – LBJ signs the Equal Opportunity Act, creating the Jobs Corps and Vista (Volunteers in Service to America). (Adams, 3)

August 24-27 – The Democratic National Convention (DNC) is held at Atlantic City, New Jersey; the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party stirs controversy there. (Adams, 3)

November 3 – LBJ is elected president. (Adams, 3)

Martin Luther King receives Nobel Peace Prize. (Schuman et al, 54)

Malcolm X makes his pilgrimage to Mecca. Upon his return, he forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity. (Brown and Stentiford, xxviii)

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, Supreme Court upholds the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Brown and Stentiford, 149)

The Twenty Fourth Amendment, which eliminates the use of the poll tax in federal elections, is ratified. (Brown and Stentiford, 632)

Late 1960s

Yuji Ichioka, a historian and Asian American Studies scholar, creates the term “Asian American” to define individuals of Asian descent who possess American citizenship. (Brown and Stentiford, 48)

1965

Sidney Poitier stars in A Patch of Blue, which deals with interracial romance. (Brown and Stentiford, 623)

January 18 – MLK begins the Selma campaign in Alabama. (Adams, 3)

February 18 – The negro civil rights worker Jimmie Lee Jackson is killed during the Selma campaign. (Adams, 3)

February 21 – The negro Muslim leader Malcolm X is assassinated in New York City by fellow negro Muslims. (Adams, 3)

March 7 – Hosea Williams leads a failed march from Selma to Montgomery, resulting in the beating of marchers by Alabama authorities at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. (Adams, 3)

March 9 – MLK leads a march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, kneels in prayer, and returns to Selma. (Adams, 3)

A white northern preacher, James Reeb, is killed during the Selma campaign. (Adams, 3)

March 13 – LBJ meets with Governor George Wallace of Alabama in the White House and warns him to end the violence against demonstrators. (Adams, 3)

March 17 – LBJ sends his negro voting rights bill to Congress. (Adams, 3)

March 21-25 – MLK leads the Selma-to-Montgomery march. (Adams, 4)

March 25 – Viola Liuzzo, a white woman from Detroit, is killed during the Selma campaign. (Adams, 4)

August 6 – LBJ signs the Voting Rights Act into law, guaranteeing negroes the right to vote by providing strict federal enforcement and harsh penalties for racial discrimination in voting and registering voters. (Adams, 4)

August 11-17 – The Watts riot in Los Angeles erupts, becoming the most deadly race riot since 1943. (Adams, 4)

August 20 – The white northern preacher Jonathan Daniel is killed while participating in ongoing Alabama civil rights activity. (Adams, 4)

September 24 – LBJ issues Executive Order 11246, increasing affirmative action requirements in federally funded construction projects. (Adams, 4)

October 3 – LBJ signs the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of October 3, 1965 (Immigration Act of 1965) into law. The Act abolishes race, ancestry, and national origins as factors in the selection of immigrants, increases immigration from 155,000 per year to 290,000 per year, and makes family relations the primary factor in the selection of immigrants.

The last legal vestiges of Jim Crow are removed. The Voting Rights Act abolishes all forms of legal disenfrancisement and pledged to prosecute illegal disenfrancisement. (Brown and Stentiford, xxviii)

1966

Whites expelled from SNCC. (Brown and Stentiford, 764)

January 7 – MLK announces his plan for a Northern Freedom Movement. (Adams, 4)

January 26 – MLK takes up residence in a Chicago slum to kick off his Chicago campaign. (Adams, 4)

February 23 – MLK leads his first march in Chicago. (Adams, 4)

June 6 – Meredith is shot in north Mississippi while attempting his solo March against Fear from Memphis to Jackson. (Adams, 4)

June 17 – Stokely Carmichael, national director of SNCC, begins using the “Black Power” slogan in defiance of MLK’s nonviolent strategy. (Adams, 4)

July 10 – MLK starts his better housing campaign in Chicago. (Adams, 4)

July 10-15 – Major rioting erupts in Chicago, but it is not directly related to MLK’s activity. (Adams, 4)

July 30-31 – More civil rights marches lead to white backlash riot in Chicago. (Adams, 4)

August 21 – Another march in Chicago leads to a counterdemonstration by the American Nazi Party. (Adams, 4)

Founding of the Black Panther Party. (Schuman et al, 55)

1967

Sidney Poitier stars in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. (Brown and Stentiford, 141)

Loving v. Virginia, Supreme Court of the United States strikes down the Virginia Racial Integrity Act and the anti-miscegenation laws of sixteen states. (Brown and Stentiford, 275)

April 15 – MLK leads and delivers an antiwar speech at Central Park in New York City. (Adams, 4)

June 13 – LBJ appoints Thurgood Marshall to become the first negro on the U.S. Supreme Court. (Adams, 4)

July 12-17 – A riot breaks out in Newark, New Jersey, resulting in more than twenty deaths. (Adams, 4)

July 22-27 – Detroit riots break out, topping the 1965 Watts riot as the most devastating of the 1960’s. (Adams, 5)

July 23 – A Black Power conference is held in Newark, stoking the fires of black anger already burning in America. (Adams, 5)

July 24 – H. Rap Brown, national director of SNCC, encourages negroes to burn down the town of Cambridge, Maryland, sparking yet another riot there. (Adams, 5)

August 25 – George Lincoln Rockwell of the American Nazi Party is assassinated by a disgruntled Greek member. (Brown and Stentiford, 578)

August 30 – Thurgood Marshall is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Justice of the Supreme Court. (Adams, 5)

November 30 – LBJ begins his Model Cities program. (Adams, 5)

Carl Stokes elected mayor of Cleveland, first black mayor of a major city. (Schuman et al, 55)

Florida – Public accommodations [City Ordinance]
Sarasota passed a city ordinance stating that “Whenever members of two or more…races shall…be upon any public…bathing beach within the corporate limits of the City of Sarasota, it shall be the duty of the Chief of police or other officer…in charge of the public forces of the City…with the assistance of such police forces, to clear the area involved of all members of all races present.” (Jim Crow History.org)

1968

Jones v. Mayer, Supreme Court outlaws discrimination in the rental and sale of property. (Brown and Stentiford, 768)

Shirley Chisholm becomes the first negro woman elected to Congress. (Brown and Stentiford, 290)

22 states have “fair housing” laws, none Southern, by 1968. (Brown and Stentiford, 723)

Green v. New Kent County Board of Education, Supreme Court rules that freedom of choice plans were not adequate to desegregate schools. (Brown and Stentiford, 262)

February 8 – A massacre at Orangeburg, South Carolina, results in many negro college students being killed or wounded by authorities. (Adams, 5)

February 15 – Cesar Chavez suffers through his 25-day hunger strike to draw attention to the plight of migrant farm workers in California. (Adams, 5)

February 29 – The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders issues its “Kerner Report” releases its report on the 1967 riots, identifying deeply embedded “racism” as main cause. (Adams, 5)

March – Kentucky becomes the first state to enact a statewide anti-housing discrimination law. (Brown and Stentiford, 439)

March 11 – Chavez ends his hunger strike, meets with Robert F. Kennedy (RFK).

March 28 – MLK leads a poor people’s march in Memphis, resulting in rioting by negro youth. (Adams, 5)

April 3 – MLK delivers his last public address, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” at a church in Memphis. (Adams, 5)

April 4 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis. (Adams, 5)

April 4-8 – MLK’s murder sparks riots throughout the nation, one of the worst being in Washington, D.C. (Adams, 5)

April 9 – MLK’s funeral in Atlanta becomes the largest ever held for a private American citizen. (Adams, 5)

April 11 – LBJ signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968 into law, prohibiting discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. (Adams, 5)

April 12 – Coretta Scott King and Ralph Abernathy open Resurrection City in Washington, D.C., as part of MLK’s posthumous Poor People’s Campaign. (Adams, 5)

June 5 – RFK is assassinated in Los Angeles while campaigning for president. (Adams, 5)

June 19-20 – King and Abernathy lead Solidarity Day demonstration in Washington to close Resurrection City. (Adams, 5)

July 23-27 – Rioting erupts in Cleveland. (Adams, 6)

August 5-8 – The Republican National Convention meets in Miami, resulting in rioting and two deaths. (Adams, 6).

August 26-30 – The Democratic National Convention meets in Chicago, resulting in rioting and the media-circus trial of the “Chicago Eight” over the next two years. (Adams, 6)

November 19-20 – Indians in San Francisco begin another occupation of Alcatraz Island, this one to last more than a year and a half. (Adams, 6)

Poor People’s March on Washington. (Schuman et al, 55)

Richard Nixon elected president, defeating Hubert Humphrey. (Schuman et al, 55)

1969-1974, Richard Nixon Administration

1969

March 5 – President Richard M. Nixon creates the Office of Minority Business Enterprise. (Adams, 6)

April 26 – The National Black Economic Development Conference meets in New York; James Forman formulates the “Black Manifesto” there. (Adams, 6)

May 4 – Forman disrupts a church service in New York City to present his Black Manifesto demands. (Adams, 6)

August 8 – Nixon signs Executive Order 11478, extending affirmative action to all federal government agencies and jobs. (Adams, 6)

August 15-18 – The Woodstock music festival is held in upstate New York. (Adams, 6)

October 29 – The Black Panther Bobby Seale is first bound and gagged in court in the Chicago Eight trial. (Adams, 6)

November 5 – Seale’s case is separated from that of the remaining “Chicago Seven.” (Adams, 6)

Alexander v. Holmes County effectively desegregates the public schools of Mississippi. (Brown and Stentiford, 541)

1970

February 2 – Sixteen Black Panthers are put on trial in New York City for plotting to bomb public buildings. (Adams, 107)

March 3 – Whites in Lamar, South Carolina, attack busloads of negro schoolchildren on their way to their newly integrated school. (Adams, 107)

May 1 – Nearly 1,000 youths at Yale University stage a demonstration in support of Black Panthers on trial in New Haven, Connecticut. (Adams, 107)

May 15 – Two negro students are killed at Jackson State University, Mississippi, by state troopers. (Adams, 107)

May 23 – Ralph Abernathy, the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, heads a “march against repression” that ends in the state capitol in Atlanta with 10,000 participants. (Adams, 107)

May 29 – The murder conviction of the Black Panther leader Huey Newton is overturned by an appeals court. (Adams, 107)

June 19 – Black Panthers, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., announce plans for a “Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention.” (Adams, 107)

July 8 – President Richard M. Nixon issues a Special Message to Congress on Indian Affairs. (Adams, 107)

July 10 – The IRS revokes the tax exemptions of all racially segregated private schools in the United States. (Adams, 107)

August 5 – The Black Panther leader Huey Newton is released from prison, ending the “Free Huey!” campaign successfully. (Adams, 107)

August 7 – Jonathan Jackson leads a holdup and attempted kidnapping in San Rafael, California, courtroom in order to free a negro defendant; the attempt results in a deadly shootout and the prosecution of the Black Panther activist Angela Davis as an accomplice. (Adams, 108)

August 31 – Philadelphia police raid Black Panther offices and make highly publicized arrests of members. (Adams, 108)

September 5-7 – Black Panthers hold constitutional convention in Philadelphia and draft a communist constitution for the United States. (Adams, 108)

September 17 – The negro entertainer Flip Wilson debuts his Flip Wilson Show on NBC television. (Adams, 108)

October 13 – Angela Davis is captured by authorities in New York City. (Adams, 108)

November 27 – Black Panthers scheduled constitutional ratification convention in Washington, D.C., fails to materialize. (Adams, 108)

December 4 – The Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez is sentenced to jail in California for organizing a lettuce boycott. (Adams, 108)

Extension of the Voting Rights Act. (Schuman et al, 55)

1971

January 5 – Angela Davis is arraigned on charges of conspiracy in the Jonathan Jackson case. (Adams, 108)

January 22 – The 13 members of the Congressional Black Caucus from the House of Representatives boycott President Nixon’s State of the Union message. (Adams, 108)

February 26 – The Black Panther leaders Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver disagree in a television debate on the direction of the party, effectively destroying the party. (Adams, 108)

March 25 – President Nixon meets with the Congressional Black Caucus and listens to their grievances. (Adams, 108)

April 20 – U.S. Supreme Court rules in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, that forced busing of students from one school district to another to achieve rational balance is acceptable. (Adams, 108)

May 18 – President Nixon issues a statement rejecting most of the proposals of the Congressional Black Caucus. (Adams, 108)

June 11 – The last of the Indians on Alcatraz are removed by government officials. (Adams, 108)

June 28 – The U.S. Supreme Court overturns the conviction of the negro boxer Muhammad Ali for draft evasion in 1967. (Adams, 108)

August 14 – Taos Pueblo Indians in New Mexico celebrate Congress’s decision to award them the Blue Lake region they had asked for. (Adams, 108)

August 25 – The Black Panther and Soledad Brother George Jackson kills five people in an attempt to escape from prison before being gunned down himself. (Adams, 109)

August 30 – Ten school buses are bombed in Pontiac, Michigan, by whites protesting cross-town busing order of federal courts. (Adams, 109)

October 8 – “Angela Davis Day” is held in New York City as part of the “Free Angela!” campaign. (Adams, 109)

1972

February 23 – Angela Davis is released on bail. (Adams, 109)

February 28 – Angela Davis’s trial begins. (Adams, 109)

March 8 – Congress gives the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the power to force compliance with all civil rights hiring laws. (Adams, 109)

March 10-12 – The first National Black Political Convention is held in Gary, Indiana, resulting in the creation of the National Black Assembly. (Adams, 109)

March 16 – President Nixon makes an address calling on federal courts to halt cross-town busing. (Adams, 109)

April 12 – Benjamin L. Hooks becomes the first negro appointee to the Federal Communications Commission. (Adams, 109)

May 16 – The NAACP withdraws from the National Black Assembly, citing its separatist agenda. (Adams, 109)

June 4 – Angela Davis is acquitted by an all-white jury in California. (Adams, 109)

1973

February 27 – The American Indian Movement (AIM) begins siege of Wounded Knee. (Adams, 109)

May 8 – AIM ends siege of Wounded Knee. (Adams, 109)

May 29 – Tom Bradley elected the first negro mayor of Los Angeles. (Adams, 109)

July 2 – The National Black Network begins operations with 38 radio stations nationwide. (Adams, 109)

Keyes v. Denver, opens the way for court-ordered busing in the North. (Schuman et al, 55)

1974-1977, Gerald Ford Administration

1974

Milliken v. Bradley, Supreme Court rules that schools were local for the purpose of Brown, and further decreed that the liberal judicial test of evidence usually granted in cases involving racial discrimination could not be invoked because suburban schools were not involved. The test of evidence, strict scrutiny, required the defendant school district to carry the burden of proof of nonracial discrimination and not the plaintiff. (Brown and Stentiford, 262)

January 21 – U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lau v. Nichols that school districts must provide bilingual education or provide remedial classes in English where needed. (Adams, 109)

March 15-17 – The second Black National Political Convention is held, in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Adams, 109)

April 8 – The negro professional baseball player Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s home-run record, hitting number 715. (Adams, 110)

June 21 – Federal court orders the city of Boston to begin integrating its public schools. (Adams, 110)

August 27 – A negro inmate, Joan Little, kills her white jailer in North Carolina and escapes. (Adams, 110)

September 12 – School starts in Boston, causing a racial uproar as integration begins. (Adams, 110)

September 19 – Rioting occurs in Boston because of integation problems at Hyde Park High School. (Adams, 110)

October 7 – Rioting occurs again in Boston over school integration problems. (Adams, 110)

October 9 – President Gerald R. Ford publicly declaims the federal court rulings requiring cross-town busing. (Adams, 110)

December 11 – Rioting occurs in Boston yet again over integration problems. (Adams, 110)

1975

Virginia’s General Assembly repeals the Racial Integrity Act. (Brown and Stentiford, 275)

May 17 – NAACP marches in Boston in support of cross-town busing to integrate schools. (Adams, 110)

June 13 – The city of Jackson, Mississippi, opens integrated public swimming pools for the first time. (Adams, 110)

July 28 – Congress extends the Voting Rights Act for seven years, adding protecting for Spanish-speaking and other non-English-speaking minorities. (Adams, 110)

August 15 – Joan Little is acquitted of murder in a highly publicized case. (Adams, 110)

September 6-7 – Riots erupt in Louisville, Kentucky, over forced busing. (Adams, 110)

October 24 – Racial violence erupts at South Boston High School. (Adams, 110)

December 9 – A federal court gives federal authorities jurisdiction over Boston public schools. (Adams, 110)

1976

October 4 – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz resigns under pressure after making “racially insensitive” comments about negroes. (Adams, 110)

October 25 – A negro activist, the Reverend Clennon King, announces his intention to integrate the Plains Baptist Church, in Georgia, the church attended by the Democratic presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter. (Adams, 110)

October 31 – The Reverend Clennon King attempts to integrate the Plains Baptist Church but is denied admission. (Adams, 110)

1977-1981, Jimmy Carter Administration

1977

January 19 – Outgoing President Ford pardons Tokyo Rose for treason during World War II. (Adams, 111)

January 31 – Federal courts order the merger of the University of Tennessee Nashville with Tennessee State University to achieve integration. (Adams, 111)

February 22 – U.S. Supreme Court begins deliberations on University of California Regents v. Bakke, a case alleging reverse discrimination (the favoring of minorities over whites) in college admissions. (Adams, 111)

March 10-11 – Hanafi Muslims in Washington, D.C., take 134 hostages, with one person killed and 19 wounded, before surrendering to police. (Adams, 111)

June 13 – James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., is captured after a prison escape in Tennessee. (Adams, 111)

June 27 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules against forced busing in Dayton Board of Education v. Brinkman. (Adams, 111)

August 29 – Negro leaders meet in New York City to discuss ways to deal with negro urban poverty. (Adams, 111)

1978

February 11 – AIM begins “The Longest March” from Alcatraz to Washington, D.C. (Adams, 111)

July 17 – AIM ends “The Longest March” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. (Adams, 111)

July 18 – AIM leaders meet with Vice President Walter Mondale and Secretary of the Interior Cecil Adams. (Adams, 111)

Bakke ruling disallows quotas at U.C. Davis Medical School but affirms potential for preferential treatment. (Schuman et al, 55)

1979

Virginia’s General Assembly repeals its sterilization law. (Brown and Stentiford, 275)

1980s

Popularization of “African-American” and “People of Color” as racial terminology. (Brown and Stentiford, 631)

1980

Ronald Reagan elected president. (Schuman et al, 55)

1981-1989, Ronald Reagan Administration

1982

Twenty-five-year extension of the Voting Rights Act. (Schuman et al, 55)

1983

Harold Washington elected first black mayor of Chicago. (Schuman et al, 55)

1984

Rev. Jesse Jackson wages the first major campaign by a black candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Schuman et al, 55)

Ronald Reagan reelected president in greatest Republican landslide in history. (Schuman et al, 55)

1986

A negro from Mississippi, Mike Espy, is elected to Congress for the first time since Reconstruction. (Brown and Stentiford, 542)

First official observation of Martin Luther King Day. (Schuman et al, 55)

U.S. Congress overrides President Reagan’s veto, joining other nations in economic sanctions against South Africa to end apartheid. (Schuman et al, 55)

1988

Mississippi Burning depicts the disappearance of three civil rights volunteers participating in the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964. (Brown and Stentiford, 142)

March 22 – Overriding a veto from President Reagan, Congress passes the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which expands the reach of nondiscrimination laws within private institutions receiving federal funds. (Remember Segregation.org)

1989-1993, George H.W. Bush Administration

1989

Colin Powell nominated by President Bush as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Schuman et al, 55)

Douglas Wilder elected governor of Virginia; David Dinkins elected mayor of New York City. (Schuman et al, 55)

Ralph David Abernathy publishes his autobiography, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, which reveals embarrassing truths about MLK’s personal life. (Brown and Stentiford, 4)

1990

President Bush vetoes a civil rights bill that sought to reverse Supreme Court decisions weakening discrimination laws on hiring and promoting. (Schuman et al, 55)

1991

Thurgood Marshall retires from Supreme Court. (Schuman et al, 56)

U.S. Senate approves nomination of Clarence Thomas to Supreme Court. (Schuman et al, 56)

Videotape of beating of Rodney King shown repeatedly on national television. (Schuman et al, 56)

After two years of debates and vetoes, President Bush reverses himself and signs the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which strengthens existing civil rights laws and provides for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination. (Remember Segregation.org)

1992

Ayers v. Fordice, Supreme Court rules that Mississippi had not yet fully eradicated Jim Crow from higher education. (Brown and Stentiford, 541)

All-white jury acquits four policemen on most counts of beating Rodney King, and Los Angeles is swept by rioting and looting, with 52 lives lost. (Schuman et al, 56)

Bill Clinton elected president. (Schuman et al, 56)

Carol Moseley Braun first black woman elected to U.S. Senate. (Schuman et al, 56)

1993-2001, Bill Clinton Administration

1993

Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Toni Morrison. (Schuman et al, 56)

Supreme Court disallows congressional districts drawn to produce black majorities. (Schuman et al, 56)

1994

Byron de La Beckwith, a white supremacist, convicted of 1963 murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in Mississippi. (Schuman et al, 56)

1995

Year-long murder trial of O.J. Simpson ends with acquittal, with widely different reactions from blacks and whites. (Schuman et al, 56)

Colin Powell shows great strength in polls as a potential presidential candidate. (Schuman et al, 56)

Million Man March in Washington, led by Louis Farrakhan. (Schuman et al, 56)

1996

Bill Clinton reelected president.

Taped meeting of Texaco executives planning to impede lawsuit on discrimination; followed by steps by Texaco chairman to show good faith in improving opportunities for minorities. (Schuman et al, 56)

Several black congressmen from previously black majority districts in South win reelection from new white majority districts. (Schuman et al, 56)

Referendum to end affirmative action passes in California: 54% to 46%. (Schuman et al, 56)

Controversy over possible addition of “multiracial” category to Census. (Schuman et al, 56)

Controversy over role of Ebonics in teaching black children. (Schuman et al, 56)

1997

Civil trial of O.J. Simpson ends with unanimous verdict that preponderance of evidence shows defendant responsible for deaths of N. Brown and R. Goldman. Racial divide remains after verdict, accentuated by radically different racial composition of the two juries. (Schuman et al, 56)

2000

July – Under pressure from the NAACP, the Confederate flag is removed from the top of the South Carolina statehouse. (Brown and Stentiford, 746)

Wichita Massacre, gruesome murder of several whites by Reginald and Jonathan Carr.

2001-2009, George W. Bush administration

“War on Terror,” 2001-

2002

John Allen Muhammad commits a racial serial murder spree in the Washington, D.C. area. (Brown and Stentiford, 570)

2005

Hurricane Katrina strikes New Orleans, racial chaos ensues.

2006

January 16 – Greenville County, South Carolina becomes the last county in America to adopt the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. (Brown and Stentiford, 741)

The Voting Rights Act is reauthorized by Congress and extended for 25 years. (Brown and Stentiford, 820)

2008

Barack Hussein Obama elected as the first black president of the United States.

2009-2013, Barack Hussein Obama Administration

________________________________________________

Adams, Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980

Elazar Barkan, The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States Between the World Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Edward J. Blum, Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898 (LSU Press, 2007)

David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Henry W. Farnam, Chapters in the History of Social Legislation in the United States to 1860 (Union, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, 2000)

Michael W. Fitzgerald, Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2007)

Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008)

Thomas Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)

Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 (Williamsburg: University of North Carolina Press, 1968)

Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (Basic Books, 2001)

Michael J. Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Michael J. Klarman, Unfinished Business

Walter Nugent, Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008)

Richard Zuczek (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2006)

8 Responses to American Racial History Timeline, 1960-2008

  1. 2008- Barack Obama elected president of the United States of America.
    White Revolution begins.

  2. Dan C. says:

    1965

    October 3 – LBJ signs the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of October 3, 1965 (Immigration Act of 1965) into law. The Act abolishes race, ancestry, and national origins as factors in the selection of immigrants, increases immigration from 155,000 per year to 290,000 per year, and makes family relations the primary factor in the selection of immigrants.

  3. Iceman says:

    You have added the DC snipers. They were spree killers (not serial killers).

    Perhaps you should add Cho, the shooter who took his rage out on Virginia tech.

  4. VanSpeyk says:

    I disagree, Cho (and also the DC snipers) should not be added. Adding too many relatively insignificant entries will only dillute the effectiveness and authority of such a list.

    The launching of American Renaissance, however, most surely, in my mind, deservers an (honorable) mention. This symbolised after all the return of sensible, all-American racialism to the political debate, as opposed to the imported nazi variety that we had in the 1960s and 70s.

  5. Hunter and others — ought we seek to update this timeline with some more recent information?

    For instance: “Cincinnati Race Riots: April 9-14, 2001″ – http://attackthesystem.com/2009/12/the-cincinnati-race-riots-shades-of-things-to-come/

    The dates need to at least be extended out to 2010 now.

  6. I would include the Illegal Immigration Protests in the Spring of 2006; and, possibly the Jena 6, in 2007.

  7. civil rights apostate says:

    You left out the Knoxville Horror, the heinous murder of a young white couple (Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian) by five blacks, which happened in January 2007. Otherwise, pretty good.

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