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Timeline: Civil Rights Era (1956 - 1971)
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In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court rules unanimously against school segregation, overturning its 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.

NPR Learn More: Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
From All Things Considered
Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white person, triggering a successful, year-long African American boycott of the bus system.

NPR Learn More: The Life of Rosa Parks
From Weekend Edition
Musician Chuck Berry begins recording; his music will help shape rock-and-roll.

NPR Learn More: Maybelline
From NPR 100
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the segregation of Montgomery, Ala., buses is unconstitutional.

NPR Learn More: The Montgomery Bus Boycott
From Morning Edition
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., helps found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to work for full equality for African Americans.

NPR Learn More: King Legacy
From The Tavis Smiley Show
For the first time since Reconstruction, the federal government uses the military to uphold African Americans' civil rights, as soldiers escort nine African American students to desegregate a school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Daisy Bates, an NAACP leader, advised and assisted the students and eventually had a state holiday dedicated to her.

NPR Learn More: Little Rock Nine and Central High
From Morning Edition

PBS Learn More: Remembering Little Rock
From The Online NewsHour

Althea Gibson becomes the first African American tennis player to win a major title by winning both the women's singles and doubles championships at Wimbledon.

African American ballet dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey founds the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, now world-renowned.

NPR Learn More: Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
From The Tavis Smiley Show

PBS Learn More: Alvin Ailey Bio
From Free to Dance

Lorraine Hansberry's "Raisin in the Sun" is the first play by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway.

NPR Learn More: Raisin in the Sun Retrospective
From The Tavis Smiley Show

PBS Learn More: Negro Ensemble Company
From American Masters

Great jazz trumpeter Miles Davis records "Kind of Blue," often considered his masteriece. The saxophonist on the album is another jazz giant, John Coltrane.

NPR Learn More: Miles Davis's Kind of Blue
From NPR 100

PBS Learn More: Miles Davis Bio

Motown Records is founded in Detroit, Mich. Motown will go on to feature such legendary artists as Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Lionel Ritchie and Queen Latifah.

NPR Learn More: Profile of Motown Records Founder Berry Gordy
From Fresh Air
Four African American college students hold a sit-in to integrate a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., launching a wave of similar protests across the South.

PBS Learn More: Nashville 1960
From A Force More Powerful

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) begins to organize Freedom Rides throughout the South to try to de-segregate interstate public bus travel.

NPR Learn More: Freedom Rides Revisited
From Weekend All Things Considered

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