African-Americans protested against injustice since the earliest slave revolts over 400 years ago. Yet, because of its attempt to dismantle Jim Crow segregation, Brown v. Board of Education can be seen as the spark that ignited the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. The Court's well-publicized 1954 decision moved white citizens to band together to protect their way of life, but it also bolstered activists who would fight for the next decade to end the indignities perpetrated against one segment of American society, in flagrant violation of federal law.

Employing a range of tactics and philosophies, activists staged marches, peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins, boycotts and voter registration drives throughout the South to achieve civil rights gains for African-Americans.

Civil Rights Milestones

1955 Arrest of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to sit in the back of the bus and subsequent bus boycott later that year

1957 Confrontation between Little Rock, Arkansas and the federal government, when nine black students attempted to attend an all-white high school

1961 Freedom Rides, to expose illegal segregation practices in interstate bus and train travel

1963 March on Washington, during which Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his landmark "I Have a Dream" speech

1964 Freedom Summer, when student volunteers from around the U.S. traveled to racist Mississippi to register black voters Passage of Civil Rights Act and establishment of a federal Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)

1965 Selma to Montgomery March, which concluded with the passage of the Voting Rights Act