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Black Civil Rights Leaders

Updated June 3, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Biographies

Notable Civil Rights Leaders

The civil rights movement in the United States is a bit hard to pin down in terms of time. The struggle for black Americans' human rights stretches back to the country's earliest days, and in some ways people would say it continues on today. The traditional timeline says that the movement started in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education, and ends in 1968 with the Fair Housing Act and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These years generally coincide with the gradual overturning of Jim Crow Laws, the rise of the black power movement, and the passing of important bills like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

The timeline we use begins after World War II to add some context, but covers the usual important milestones like the freedom riders, sit-ins, the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama, and the Selma marches. You can click here to see the timeline, or here for more black history. 

Or, if you want to see some of Dr. King's most important speeches and letters, like his I Have a Dream speech delivered in Washington, D.C., or his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, click here

The biographies here are for famous leaders from that era, including members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Nation of Islam (NOI) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (or NAACP).

The Little Rock Nine pictured with Daisy Bates, the president of the Arkansas NAACP.

The Little Rock Nine pictured with Daisy Bates, the president of the Arkansas NAACP.

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