What were the 10 most important events in the civil rights era and why?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The ones mentioned were phenomenal.  I would like to add two more, if possible.  King's "I Have a Dream" Speech might occupy its own event because it helped to spread the idea of Civil Rights as a moral and ethical imperative as opposed to solely a political one.  It helped to bring out the idea that supporting Civil Rights for African- Americans was of importance in the idea that it supported human rights.  This event helped to bring more White Americans to the Civil Rights struggle.  Another significant event would be the Kerner Commission's report on Urban Unrest in 1967.  Commissioned by then President Johnson who sought to understand why the summer riots in American cities were happening, the report argued quite pointedly that America was progressing in a manner where there was a movement towards "two societies, one black, one white- separate and unequal."  I would say that this report was a significant moment because it was proof from the government that the Civil Rights Movement was one that had to be heard and acknowledged or else disaster was going to be evident.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are 10 possibilities:

  1. Brown vs. Board of Education.  This was the court case that ended school segregation and helped jump start the rest of the movement.
  2. Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Started the protest movement and made Martin Luther King Jr. more of an important person.
  3. The Little Rock Nine.  The federal government forced integration of the high school in Little Rock.  Showed the government was serious about integration.
  4. Greensboro sit-ins
  5. Freedom Riders
  6. Deaths of the three civil rights workers during the Freedom Summer
  7. March on Washington
  8. 1964 Civil Rights Act -- this actually gave blacks the rights they had been fighting for.
  9. 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Protected blacks' right to vote, which had not been very well protected.
  10. Rise of the "Black Power" movement, which started to make things more confrontational.
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many possibilities. Here are some more.

  1. Emmitt Till was murdered in 1954 because he supposedly whistled at a white women. Two men were arrested for the death of Till but they were acquitted. The jury was all white.
  2. That same year Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person.
  3. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was founded at Shaw University in 1960 which provided blacks with a place in the civil rights movement.
  4. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and wrote "Letter from Birmingham Jail" which argued that individuals have a moral duty to disobey unjust laws.
  5. In 1964, the 24th amendment abolished the poll tax.
  6. In 1968, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which prohibited discrimination in the rental, sale, and financing of housing.


brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1)  Formation of the NAACP

2)  The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s

3)  Murder of Emmitt Till (galvanized the movement into action)

4)  Brown vs. Board of Education 1954

5) Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955

6)  Little Rock Central High School integration 1957-58

7)  Greensboro Sit ins 1960

8)  Letter from a Birmingham Jail 1963

9)  Freedom Summer 1964

10)  Voting Rights Act 1965

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The Civil Rights Era consisted of many important events. I think choosing the most important points is kind of a judgement call. I would choose Rosa Parks, the Little Rock Nine, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, the murder of Emmett Till, the Scottsboro trial, and Brown vs. Board of Education as some of the most significant.