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Civil Rights Movement 1950s, 1960s, & 1970s. SS5H8: The student will describe the importance of key people, events, and developments between 1950-1975 A. Discuss the importance of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War

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civil rights movement 1950s 1960s 1970s

Civil Rights Movement 1950s, 1960s, & 1970s

SS5H8: The student will describe the importance of key people, events, and developments between 1950-1975

A. Discuss the importance of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War

B. Explain the key events and people of the Civil Rights Movement; include Brown Vs. Board of Education (1954), Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and civil rights activities of Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr.

C. Describe the impact on American society of the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

D. Discuss the significance of the technologies of television and space exploration.

Civil Rights Movement:It refers to the activities in the United States during the 1950’sand 1960’s. The goal of the movement was to outlaw, or do away with, racialdiscrimination against African Americans.

Other goals were to END segregation and restore voting rights to African Americans in Southern states. Those involved were trying to gain freedom and respect for African Americans in areas like the economy and in society.

Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama

civil rights movement
Civil Rights Movement

Black protestors for integration, fair pay, and equal housing.

College Students at Woolworth Lunch Counter during a sit-in. They were later served lunch at the same restaurant months later. (N.C.)

Peace Officer clubbing an African American for no reason

Brown v. Board of Education:

**Flashback** In 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson ruled that public places could be “separate but equal.”

In 1951 a lawsuit was filed against the Topeka, Kansas’ School Board of Education. Thirteen African American parents filed the lawsuit against the school board because their children were made to go to separate schools from white students.

Brown's daughter Linda, had to walk six blocks to the bus stop, then ride a bus to Monroe Elementary, which was a segregated black school, over one mile away. Sumner Elementary School was only seven blocks from her house; but, it was an all white school and she was NOT allowed to attend.

At first, the District Court ruled in favor of the Board of Education. However, in 1954 the Supreme Court heard the case and ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This means, that segregation was no longer legal!!!

brown v board of education
Brown v. Board of Education

“Little Rock Nine” Students & Protestors

Thurgood Marshall: He was the attorney for Brown and the other parents. Marshall was a member of the NAACPand later became the firstAfrican American to serve as a United States Supreme Courtjudge. Brown v. Board of Education was Thurgood Marshall’s biggest victory in court.

In 1955, Montgomery, Alabama laws required blacks to sit in the back of public buses. The laws also said they had to give up their seat to white passengers if all of the white seats were full.

thurgood marshall

Marshall with students of

“Little Rock Nine”

“separate but equal” water fountains

Sit-In photo from N.C. Civil Rights Protest

Rosa Parks: The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

Rosa Parks:On December 1, 1955 a seamstress named Rosa Parks was

sitting in the “black” section on a public bus in Montgomery after a long day of work. A white man got on the bus and the bus driver told Rosa Parks to move. She refused and she was arrested! Rosa Parks was found guilty of violating a local ordinance or law. Rosa Parks is known as the “mother” of the Civil Rights Movement.

montgomery bus boycott
Montgomery Bus Boycott

Rosa Park’s Being Fingerprinted

Rosa Parks’ arrest photo

Montgomery Bus Boycott:Rosa Parks’ bravery led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. African Americans refused to ride public buses and they chose to walk or carpool instead. The boycott lasted for over one year. The city lost a LOT of money because most passengers were black. The Supreme Court ruled that segregated buses were not legal and the boycott ended.

Young woman catching ride to work during the bus boycott.


John F. Kennedy won the presidential election over the Vice President Richard Nixon. It was one of the closest elections ever! Both candidates used television to run election ads and for the first time, a presidential debate was televised (shown on T.V.). Most Americans who listened to the debate on the radiothought Nixon had won. But, most of those who watched the debate on television were certain that JFK who was younger, good looking, and more confident had won.

Historians feel that television helpedKennedy win the election and boosted his popularity. He was the youngest president elected!

John F. Kennedy supported the Civil Rights

Movement and eventually made the push for more

civil rights laws to be passed. In 1963, Lee

Harvey Oswald assassinated the beloved President

Kennedy inTexas. The American people mourned

the young president’s death.

john f kennedy
John F. Kennedy

JFK and wife in car minutes before he was assassinated

Advancements in Technology:

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Americans gained a new respectfor JFK’s leadership abilities. Kennedy was also a big supporter of space exploration. JFK wanted the United States to stayaheadof the Soviet Union (Russia) in the “Space Race.” So, JFK challengedNASAto put a man on the moon before the end of the 60’s. In1969, Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moonand people were able to watch his first steps ontelevision!

Satellites are machines that orbitthe Earth and send communication signals andpicturesback to Earth. Satellites tell us theweatherand provide directions to our navigational systems like Garmin. Russia launched satellites into space first. So the U.S. began competing for better technology.

advancements in technology
Advancements in Technology

1961 Satellite


The USA was the first country to put a man on the moon.

NASA archive - Picture of Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin on July 15, 1969

Picture of astronaut during the “Space Race”

Advancements in Technology:

In the late 1920s, only a few thousand televisions were inhomes. The first television commercial was broadcast in1930and in 1937 CBS began developing their network. By 1948, over 1millionhomes had televisions and by 1967 over one half of broadcasts are incolor.

1940s TV

1930s TV

1950s TV

1970s TV

1960s TV

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Martin Luther King, Jr. was a young Baptist minister who helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After this successful protest, Dr. King became very famous. He became the leader of the Civil Rights Movement and preached about nonviolent protests and how to peacefully disobey unfair laws. Many blacks chose Dr. King’s methods of peaceful sit-ins and legal rallies but were still arrested many times.
March on Washington:As Martin

Luther King, Jr. gained fame he also gained thousands of followers who believed in his peaceful ways to achieve change. On August 28, 1963 approximately 200,000 people joined the March on Washington. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream,” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. King’s speech included his dreams for a racially united country where people are judged by the “content of their character” and NOT the color of their skin.


Civil Rights Act of 1964:made segregation and discrimination illegalin many public places such as hotels, restaurants, & theatres.

24th Amendment:ended the poll tax and made it easier for African Americans to vote because it did not cost money.


Voting Rights Act:gave the U.S. President power to outlaw literacy tests and send federal officials to make sure that blacks got a fair chance to vote in elections

Militant Movements:This was the belief that it was okay to use violence to achieve change. Many young and more radical blacks wanted to become a part of the Militant Movements and they founded the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X became part of the Nation of Islam and he preached about distrusting ALL whites!

After Malcolm X went on a Muslim pilgrimage, or a religious journey, he changed his views and began to preach cooperation instead of hatred. In 1965 he was assassinated by three black men who were mad that he changed his opinions and thought he was weak because of this change.

malcolm x and the militant movement
Malcolm X and the Militant Movement

Nation of Islam Members at Rally

Black Power was a common phrase used by militants during the Civil Rights Movement.

Black Panther Group Members


Many blacks believed in Dr. King’s peaceful ways of creating change. However, some blacks felt he was too weak and white racists hated him for challenging their beliefs. On April 4, 1968 a white man named James Earl Ray shot and killed Dr. King. Many angry riots broke out after his assassination. However, Dr. King’s dream for equal rights lived on. The Civil Rights Movement continued to win rights for African Americans.

Tragedy struck the Kennedy family again when Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother, was assassinated during a campaign speech.