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Timeline

 
January 1929 Martin Luther King is born in Atlanta, Georgia.
1946 The US Supreme Court bans segregation in interstate bus travel.
1947 King becomes assistant pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
1948 President Truman ends segregation in the armed forces.
December 1951 Harry Moore, leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), who protested against police brutality and led voter registration drives, is killed and his wife fatally wounded when their home is bombed.
1953 The first bus boycott takes place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1954 King becomes pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama.

The Supreme Court declares segregated public schools unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education, overturning the idea of 'separate but equal' facilities.
1955 King receives a PhD in theology from Boston University.
August 1955 Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy, is killed in Mississippi after he supposedly whistled at a white woman. The acquittal of the two white men charged with the crime gets widespread publicity.
December 1955 Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus, beginning the Montgomery Bus boycott, which lasts one year before city buses are finally desegregated.
January 1956 King's house is bombed for the first time.
1957 The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is formed and King becomes president.

President Eisenhower uses troops to enforce school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1958 King publishes 'Stride Toward Freedom' about the Montgomery bus boycott. He also survives a knife attack in Harlem.
1959 A television documentary on the Nation of Islam brings Malcolm X to wider public attention.
1960 The student sit-in movement begins in Greensboro, North Carolina. Such sit-ins continue for 6 months. King is jailed after a sit-in in Atlanta.

The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is formed.
1961 The 'freedom rides' start, with protesters travelling from Washington to the South in order to challenge segregation in interstate travel. They are beaten up in Birmingham and Montgomery and arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.

King joins protests in Albany, Georgia, and is jailed several times.
1962 King meets President Kennedy to discuss civil rights.

Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett prevents James Meredith from enrolling at the University of Mississippi. President Kennedy becomes involved and federalises the Mississippi National Guard. Two people are killed and more than 300 injured during a riot. Meredith finally registers on October 1.
April-May 1963 A campaign against segregation in Birmingham begins with a sit-in. King leads the protests that follow.
August 1963 King makes his "I Have A Dream" speech at the March on Washington, attended by 250,000 supporters.
June 1963 Two African American students register at the University of Alabama. Governor George Wallace tries to stop them being admitted.

President Kennedy gives a televised address proposing a new civil rights bill, which is then submitted to Congress.

Medgar Evers, Mississippi NAACP leader, is assassinated outside his home.
September 1963 The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, and four young girls are killed.
1964 King is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His 'Why we can't wait' is published.
June-July 1964 The Senate votes to limit further debate on the civil rights bill, ending the longest filibuster (delay tactics by the opposition) in Senate history. It passes a revised civil rights bill, which is then signed by President Johnson.
February 1965 Malcolm X is murdered in New York.
March 1965 Marchers walking from Selma to Montgomery to push for voter registration are attacked by police. Further marches take place.
August 1965 The Voting Rights Act is passed by President Johnson.

There are riots in Watts, Los Angeles.
June 1966 James Meredith is shot on the 'March against Fear' from Memphis to Jackson.
July 1966 There are riots in Chicago and Cleveland.
October 1966 The Black Panthers are founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seal and dedicated to armed struggle.
1967 King denounces the war in Vietnam.

During riots 23 people are killed in Newark and 43 people are killed in Detroit.

The first two black mayors of US cities are elected.

The Supreme Court rules that prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional.
April 1968 King is assassinated in Memphis. Rioting takes place in many US cities.

A civil rights bill becomes law, preventing racial discrimination in housing.
May 1968 Rev. Ralph Abernathy succeeds King as president of the SCLC and leads a Poor People's March to Washington, where protestors build 'Resurrection City', a plywood shantytown near the Washington Monument.