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Timeline: Civil Rights Era (1956 - 1971)
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Cassius Clay wins the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. Shortly thereafter, he announces he has joined the Nation of Islam and taken the name Muhammad Ali.

NPR Learn More: Interview with Muhammad Ali
From Morning Edition

One year after splitting from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X is assassinated in New York by gunmen affiliated with the NOI.

NPR Learn More: The X Files
From The Tavis Smiley Show
King organizes a protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, for African American voting rights. A shocked nation watches on television as police club and teargas protesters.

NPR Learn More: Selma Anniversary
From All Things Considered
In the wake of the Selma-Montgomery March, the Voting Rights Act is passed, outlawing the practices used in the South to disenfranchise African American voters

Race riots break out in the Watts area of Los Angeles, leaving 34 dead and roughly a thousand hurt. The immediate trigger is the arrest of a young African American man charged ith reckless driving; the underlying cause is probably mass unemployment and poor living conditions among L.A,'s African Americans, combined with widespread racism.

Stokely Carmichael, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, calls for "black power" in a speech, ushering in a more militant civil rights stance.

NPR Learn More: Remembering Stokely Carmichael
From All Things Considered

PBS Learn More: A Huey P. Newton Story

Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seales found the Black Panther Party, a radical black power group, in Oakland, California. Although it develops a reputation for militant rhetoric and clashes with the police, the group also becomes a national organization that supports food, education, and healthcare programs in poor African American communities.

NPR Learn More: 35th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party
From Talk of the Nation

PBS Learn More: A Huey P. Newton Story

The holiday of Kwanzaa, based on African harvest festivals, is created in the U.S. by an activist scholar, Maulana Ron Karenga.

NPR Learn More: Commentary on Kwanzaa
From All Things Considered

PBS Learn More: Interview with Maulana Karenga
From Frontline: The Two Nations of Black America

Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American justice on the Supreme Court.

NPR Learn More: Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary
From Weekend All Things Considered

PBS Learn More: American Revolutionary?
From The Online NewsHour

Aretha Franklin records a series of hit singles, including her best-known song, "Respect." She will become known as the "Queen of Soul."

NPR Learn More: Effect of Respect
From Weekend Edition

PBS Learn More: Aretha Franklin
From American Masters

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