This civil rights movement timeline chronicles important dates during the struggle"s second chapter, the early 1960s. While the fight for racial equality began in the 1950s, the non-violent techniques the movement embraced began to pay off during the following decade. Civil rights activists and students across the South challenged segregation, and the relatively new technology of television allowed Americans to witness the often brutal response to these protests.
President Lyndon B. Johnson successfully pushed through the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a number of other groundbreaking events unfolded between 1960 and 1964, the span covered by this timeline.
On Feb. 1, four young African-American men, students at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College, go to a Woolworth in Greensboro, N.C., and sit down at a whites-only lunch counter. They order coffee. Despite being denied service, they sit silently and politely at the lunch counter until closing time. Their action marks the start of the Greensboro sit-ins, which sparks similar protests all over the South.
On Oct. 19, Martin Luther King Jr. joins a student sit-in at a whites-only restaurant inside of an Atlanta department store, Rich"s. He is arrested along with 51 other protesters on the charge of trespassing. On probation for driving without a valid Georgia license (he had an Alabama license), a Dekalb County judge sentences King to four months in prison doing hard labor. Presidential contender John F. Kennedy phones King"s wife, Coretta, to offer encouragement, while the candidate"s brother, Robert Kennedy, convinces the judge to release King on bail. This phone call convinces many African-Americans to support the Democratic ticket.
On May 14, Freedom Riders, now traveling in two separate groups, are attacked outside Anniston, Ala. and in Birmingham, Ala. A mob throws a firebomb onto the bus in which the group near Anniston is riding. Members of the Ku Klux Klan attack the second group in Birmingham after making an arrangement with the