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  • The Civil Rights Movement, initiated in the 1950s to end racial discrimination and segregation, was marked by a landmark Supreme Court decision and acts of civil resistance ranging from sit-ins at lunch counters to the March on Washington. <br></br>In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Nathaniel Steward, 17, recited his lesson, May 21, 1954, at the Saint-Dominique school in Washington, where the decision was applied for the first time.
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  • Mrs. Rosa Parks, a seamstress, was fingerprinted after her refusal to move to the back of a bus to accommodate a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. Following her arrest, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. organized a boycott of the Montgomery bus system. On Nov. 13, 1956, the Supreme Court struck down Alabama state and Montgomery city bus segregation laws as being in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment of the Constitution, according to History.com.
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  • Elizabeth Eckford ignored the hostile screams of fellow students on her first day of school in 1957. She was one of the nine African-American students whose integration into Little Rock's Central High School was ordered by a federal court. Governor Orval Faubus defied the court, calling the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the students from entering the building, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. President Eisenhower ordered the National Guard to protect the teenagers ten days later, but Faubus dismissed the troops, leaving the students exposed to an angry mob.
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  • While attempting to attend the arraignment of a man accused of assaulting Ralph Abernathy, a Baptist minister who was a civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and charged with loitering in Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 3, 1958. His wife, Coretta Scott King, watched.
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  • Emmett Till was brutally murdered at the age of 14 for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi by her husband and his half-brother. In September 1955, an all-white, all-male jury in Sumner, Mississippi, acquitted the two men.
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  • Mourners and onlookers surround the entrance to Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, Sept. 3, 1955, during funeral services for Emmett Till. Till's mother, Mamie Till Mobley, held an open casket funeral and had Till's body photographed, sparking outrage and a louder call for civil rights.
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  • Spurred to action by the death of Emmett Till, African-American students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College participated in a sit-in at a F. W. Woolworth's lunch counter reserved for white customers in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960. Similar non-violent protests against segregation spread to over a hundred cities within a year, according to the Library of Congress.
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  • Demonstrators gathered in front of a Woolworth store in Harlem, New York, Feb. 13, 1960, to protest lunch counter discrimination in Greensboro, Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina. The demonstrators, who belonged to a civil rights organization known as CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), urged Harlem residents not to patronize Woolworth stores until discrimination ended in the stores in the three Southern cities.
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  • African-American students from Saint Augustine College participated in a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1960. In response to the success of the sit-in movement, dining facilities across the South were being integrated by the summer of 1960, according to History.com.
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  • Freedom Riders on a Greyhound bus sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), sat on the ground outside the bus after it was set on fire by a group of whites who met the integrated group on arrival at Anniston, Alabama, May 14, 1961. The Freedom rides, which took place throughout the South, were organized to protest segregation in interstate bus terminals.
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  • National Guard soldiers escorted Freedom Riders along their ride from Montgomery, Ala., to Jackson, Miss., in 1961. In September 1961, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations prohibiting segregation in bus and train stations nationwide, according to History.com.
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  • A woman is seen in the back of a police van in New York, 1962.
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  • Sarah Jean Collins, 12, was blinded by a dynamite explosion set off in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed her sister and three other girls as her Sunday school class was ending in Birmingham, Ala. in 1963. The bombing was an act of terrorism, orchestrated by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.
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  • The family of Carol Robertson, a 14-year-old African American girl killed in a church bombing, attend graveside services for her, Sept. 17, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama. The deaths of four little girls in the incident shocked the nation. Seated left to right: Carol Robertson's sister Dianne and parents, Mr. Alvin Robertson Sr. and Mrs. Alpha Robertson.
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  • Malcolm X promotes Black Muslim policies during a civil rights demonstration in New York, 1963. Malcolm X sharply contrasted with Martin Luther King Jr.’s approach to civil rights, and promoted segregation of black and white Americans during his time as a leader of the Nation of Islam. He later disavowed these beliefs after becoming disillusioned with the Nation of Islam and was assassinated by three members in 1965.
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  • In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the lack of voting rights for African Americans. Beside King is John Lewis, Reverend Jesse Douglas, James Forman and Ralph Abernathy.
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  • A 17-year-old civil rights demonstrator, defying an anti-parade ordinance of Birmingham, Ala., was attacked by a police dog on May 3, 1963. On May 4, 1963, during a meeting at the White House with members of a political group, President Kennedy discussed this photo, which had appeared on the front page of that day's New York Times. The image helped turn the tide of public opinion in favor of the civil rights activists.
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  • A group of demonstrators are blasted with water from a firehose in Birmingham, Alabama, May 3, 1963. Police officers used both firehoses and dogs to break up the non-violent demonstration.
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  • From left, John Lewis, Matthew Ahman, Floyd B. McKissick, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Reverend Eugene Carson Blake, Cleveland Robinson, and Rabbi Joachim Prinz at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Aug. 28, 1963. An estimated 250,000 people attended the march, and the event focused on employment discrimination, civil rights abuses against African Americans, Latinos, and other disenfranchised groups, and support for the Civil Rights Act that the Kennedy Administration was attempting to pass through Congress, according to the National Park Service.
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  • King addressed crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, where he gave his seminal "I Have A Dream" speech, Aug. 28, 1963. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," he said.
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  • Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The landmark legislation outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
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  • A demonstration turns violent as the police forcibly remove protesters and use tear gas in Cambridge, Md., 1964. Clifford Vaughs, a photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), is arrested by the National Guard. SNCC was formed to give younger blacks more of a voice in the civil rights movement, according to History.com.
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  • The police carry away a protester during a Congress of Racial Equality demonstration in New York in 1964.
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  • State troopers swung billy clubs to break up the civil rights voting march in Selma, Ala., March 7, 1965. John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (in the foreground) was beaten by a state trooper. Lewis, a future Congressman, sustained a fractured skull.
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  • Civil rights activists march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, starting the second march to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965 .There were three march attempts. The first was coined "Bloody Sunday," after it was marked by violence against the civil rights activists was perpetrated by the local and state police. The third march attempt was successful in reaching the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery.
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  • A young civil rights activist takes part in the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March in 1965. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Council, a civil rights group, organized the march to bring attention to discrimination against black voters.
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  • Members of the military guarded participants in the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March, March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Ala.
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  • Civil rights activists marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Following “Bloody Sunday,” President Lyndon B. Johnson called for legislation protecting the voting rights of African Americans. The Voting Rights Act, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting, was signed into law that August.
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  • A line of Alabama State Police faced down a line of civil rights activists who stand with arms linked in unity. The protesters were about to begin the march to Montgomery, 1965.
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  • Civil rights protesters block traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington by lying in the street in 1965.
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  • Mississippi Highway Patrolmen used tear gas on civil rights protesters in Canton, Mississippi, in 1966. Participants in the protest had embarked on a 19-day “March Against Fear” to encourage African-Americans to vote and participate in local government, according to Ashley Norwood of Mississippi Today.
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  • Members of the National Guard cleared the streets while holding their rifles, which had unsheathed bayonets fixed to the barrels, during the Newark riots in 1967. The riots were sparked by the beating of a black cab driver by white police officers, according to NJ.com.
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  • National Guard troops block off Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn., as civil rights marchers wearing placards reading, "I AM A MAN" pass by, March 29, 1968. It was the third consecutive march held by the group in as many days. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had left town after the first march, returned to Memphis and would be assassinated a few days later.
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  • Extending gloved hands skyward in racial protest, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare downward during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, Oct. 16, 1968. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman is at left. The photograph became an icon of the civil rights movement.
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  • Civil rights leader Andrew Young and others stand on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, pointing in the direction of the shooter after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who is lying at their feet, was fatally shot on April 4, 1968.
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  • The family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., view his body at the Sister's Chapel at Spelman College in Atlanta, April 7, 1968. Left to right: Yolanda, 12; Bernice, 5; Martin 3rd, 11; and Dexter, 33, with Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in April 4,1968. A national outpouring of anger and mourning followed his death and led to the radicalization of some moderate African-American activists, according to History.com.
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  • Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and their daughter, Yolanda, sit in a car as it leaves for Martin Luther King Jr's funeral in Atlanta, Georgia, April 9, 1968. Thousands of mourners followed the casket as it was brought to the funeral service.
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