Bay of Pigs fiasco occurred
Soviets erect the Berlin Wall
Cuban Missile Crisis
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas
Congress passes the Civil Rights Act
Congress passes the Tonkin Gulf Resolution
Malcolm X is assassinated by a rival group of black Muslims
Riots break out in African Americans community of Watts, California
Viet Cong stage the Tet offensive
Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated
Robert Kennedy is assassinated
Supreme Court issues ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
Montgomery bus boycott begins
federal troops are ordered to guarntee the safety of students attempting to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas
separate but equal
Principle underlying legal racial segregation, which was upheld in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and struck down in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Brown v. Board of Education
(1954) U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down racial segregation in public education and declared "separate but equal'' unconstitutional.
Middle- and upper-class versions of the Ku Klux Klan that spread quickly across the region and eventually enrolled 250,000 members.
In reaction to the Brown decision of 1954, U.S. senator Harry Byrd encouraged southern states to defy federally mandated school integration.
Denounced the Court's decision in the Brown case as "a clear abuse of judicial power" and was signed by 101 southern members of Congress in 1956.
A black seamstress who was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man.
Montgomery bus boycott
Sparked by Rosa Parks' arrest on December 1, 1955, a successful year-long boycott protesting segregation on city buses; led by the Reverend Martin Luther King.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Black Reverend, leader of the SCLC, and winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the American civil rights movement, he espoused a philosophy of nonviolent civil disobedience.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Civil rights organization founded in 1957 by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders.
Civil Rights Act of 1957
First federal civil rights law since Reconstruction; established the Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Arkansas governor who called out the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Little Rock's Central High School under federal court order.
John F. Kennedy
A young Democrat who defeated Richard Nixon to win the presidency in 1960 who focused his efforts on liberal reform and furthering civil rights until his tragic assassination in 1963.
John F. Kennedy's program, stymied by a Republican Congress and his abbreviated term; his successor Lyndon B. Johnson had greater success with many of the same concepts.
A celebrated governmental program, created in 1961 under the Kennedy administration, which supplies volunteers to provide educational and technical services abroad.
The U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl (part of term), 1953-69, decided such landmark cases as Brown v. Board of Education (school desegregation), Baker v. Carr (legislative redistricting), and Gideon v. Wainwright and Miranda v. Arizona (rights of criminal defendants).
Gideon v. Wainwright
(1963) U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing legal counsel for indigent felony defendants.
Miranda v. Arizona
(1966) U.S. Supreme Court decision required police to advise persons in custody of their rights to legal counsel and against self-incrimination.
A nonviolent form of protest begun when four black college students sat down and demanded service at a "whites-only" lunch counter in 1960, starting a movement which quickly spread throughout the country.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
Founded in 1960 to coordinate civil rights sit-ins and other forms of grassroots protest.
Congress of Racial Equality
Civil rights organization started in 1944 and best known for its "freedom rides," bus journeys challenging racial segregation in the South in 1961.
A group of black and white progressives who boarded public busses together to test a federal court ruling that banned segregation on buses and trains, resulting in assaults by Alabama mobs and drawing national attention to the cause.
James H. Meredith
A student denied entrance to the University of Mississippi in 1962 because he was black, Merideth's case caused Attorney General Robert Kennedy to dispatch federal marshals to enforce the law and, after a bloody protest from a white mob, Meredith was finally able to register at "Ole Miss."
Eugene "Bull" Connor
Police Commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, who responded to Martin Luther King's 1963 nonviolent demonstrations with attack dogs, tear gas, electric cattle prods, and fire hoses, while millions of outraged Americans watched the confrontations on television.
Letter from Birmingham Jail
A stirring defense of the nonviolent strategy that became a classic of the civil rights movement, written by Martin Luther King from his jail cell after being arrested while demonstrating in 1963.
George C. Wallace
A Southern traditionalist governor who remained steadfast in opposing integration, who in 1963 stood dramatically in the doorway of a building at the University of Alabama to block the enrollment of several black students.
March on Washington
Civil rights demonstration on August 28, 1963, where the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his "I Have a Dream'' speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Bay of Pigs
Hoping to inspire a revolt against Fidel Castro, the CIA sent 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade their homeland on April 17, 1961, but the mission was a spectacular failure.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Caused when the United States discovered Soviet offensive missile sites in Cuba in October 1962; the U.S.-Soviet confrontation was the cold war's closest brush with nuclear war.
Ngo Dinh Diem
Southern Vietnam's Catholic Premier, whose use of repressive tactics against Communists and the Buddhist majority, along with his failure to deliver promised social and economic reforms lost him popular support in the early 1960s.
Lee Harvey Oswald
John F. Kennedy's assassin, who shot the President on his visit to Dallas Texas in November of 1963.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Texan Democrat who served as John F. Kennedy's vice-president and assumed the presidency after Kennedy's assassination in 1963, devoted to furthering civil rights and promising Americans a "Great Society."
War on Poverty
Announced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 State of the Union address; under the Economic Opportunity Bill signed later that year, Head Start, VISTA, and the Jobs Corps were created, and grants and loans were extended to students, farmers, and businesses in efforts to eliminate poverty.
The Other America
Social critic and author Michael Harrington's powerful expose, published in 1962, which helped inspire President Kennedy to investigate America's poverty problem.
Term coined by President Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1965 State of the Union address, in which he proposed legislation to address problems of voting rights, poverty, diseases, education, immigration, and the environment.
A wealthy Senator from Arizona who emerged in 1960 as the leader of the Republican right and lost to Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 presidential election.
The Conscience of a Conservative
Republican Senator Barry Goldwater's 1960 book, in which he advocated an abolition of the income tax, sale of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and a drastic overhaul of Social Security.
A comprehensive governmental medical care program for the elderly, initiated by President Johnson in 1965.
President Johnson's program, signed in 1965, allocating federal grants to states that would help cover medical payments for the indigent.
Robert C. Weaver
The first black cabinet member, he headed the new Department of Housing and Urban Development formed under the Johnson administration in 1966.
Immigration Act of 1964
A bill initiated by President Kennedy and signed by Johnson in 1965, the act treated people of all nationalities and races equally, abolishing discriminatory quotas and allowing unlimited entry of American residents' immediate family members.
Civil Rights Act of 1965
The most far-reaching civil rights measure ever enacted by the Congress, it outlawed discrimination in public accommodations and employment.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Created under the Civil Rights Act signed by President Johnson in 1964, the commission administered a ban on job discrimination by race, religion, national origin, or sex.
Selma to Montgomery march
The fifty-mile route followed by a group of civil rights protesters in 1965, over 35,000 of whom reached Montgomery, where Martin Luther King delivered a rousing address from the steps of the state capitol.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Passed in the wake of Martin Luther King's Selma to Montgomery March, it authorized federal protection of the right to vote and permitted federal enforcement of minority voting rights in individual counties, mostly in the South.
de facto segregation
Segregation due to circumstance, such residential patterns, rather than discrimination under the law.
de jure segregation
Segregation amenable to changes in law.
Young leader of the SNCC, who made the separatist philosophy of black power the groups official objective and ousted whites from the organization in 1966.
Post-1966 rallying cry of a more militant civil rights movement.
Black Panther party
A provocative and armed group of urban revolutionaries founded in Oakland, California in 1966 that terrified the public but eventually fragmented in spasms of violence.
One of America's most effective voices for urban black militancy, the self-proclaimed extremist organized black power alliances and published his Autobiography before his murder by a rival faction of Black Muslims in 1965.
Tonkin Gulf Resolution
(1964) Passed by Congress in reaction to supposedly unprovoked attacks on American warships off the coast of North Vietnam; it gave the president unlimited authority to defend U.S. forces and members of SEATO.
The first sustained bombings of North Vietnam, an operation ordered by President Johnson which was intended to stop the flow of soldiers and supplies into the south.
William C. Westmoreland
An American Army General who served as commander of the American troops in Vietnam beginning in March 1965.
Surprise attack by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese during the Vietnamese New Year of 1968; turned American public opinion strongly against the war in Vietnam.
Robert F. Kennedy
Senator and brother of John F. Kennedy, an outspoken leader of the antiwar forces and presidential candidate who was assassinated during his campaign in June of 1968.
Hubert H. Humphrey
A prominent liberal senator from Minnesota dedicated to the promotion of civil rights, he served as Johnson's vice-president from 1964-68 and ran an unsuccessful personal campaign for the presidency in 1968.
Nickname for the American majority that was wooed by Nixon and the Republicans' promise of a vision of stability and order in the U.S. in the presidential race of 1968.
National security advisor to presidents Nixon and Ford, who played a major role in American affairs in Vietnam, China, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union.
The equipping and training of the South Vietnamese to assume the burden of ground combat in place of Americans.
Nixon's clarification of the draft system, established in 1969, which eliminated many inequities by clearly stating that only nineteen-year-olds with low lottery numbers would be called into the military.
The Pentagon Papers
Informal name for the Defense Department's secret history of the Vietnam conflict; leaked to the press by former official Daniel Ellsberg and published in the New York Times in 1971.
Popular term for President Nixon's December 18, 1972, saturation bombings of Hanoi and Haiphong, the two largest cities in North Vietnam.
War Powers Act
Passed in 1973 by a Democratic Congress, requiring the President to gain Congressional approval before making certain decisions regarding American military affairs.