Civil Rights for African Americans can be traced back to slavery time when John Casor, a black man who claimed to have completed his debt as an indenture slave in a civil case in the Virginia colony. Black consciousness and the way we live today has been shaped by these courage’s men and women who fought for justice and civil rights. Here are cases that had an impact on black lives before during and after the movement.

1Dred Scott v. Sandford

In 1857 a slave by name of Dred Scott sued for his freedom because he lived in a “free” territory which was named Dred Scott v. Sanford. Naturally the court ruled against his favor stating that he was his master’s property under the Constitution.

2Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln that slaves should be free.

313th Amendment

On December 6, 1865 the 13th Amendment of the constitution abolished slavery. States in the South managed to revive slavery era codes making it hard for blacks to live, work or participate in society.

414th Amendment

July 9, 1868 the 14th Amendment granted due process and equal protection under the law to African Americans.

5Civil Rights Act of 1875

March 1, 1875 A Civil Rights Act was passed that kept out cases of racial discrimination and guaranteed equal access to public accommodations regardless of race or color. White groups created a campaign against blacks and their white supporters.

6Plessy v. Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896 case upheld a law in Louisiana requiring restaurants, hotels and other public places to serve blacks in a separate but equal environment.

7Murray vs. Maryland

Murray vs. Maryland (1936) was a case brought to the Baltimore City Court with the influence and help of Thurgood Marshall arguing that Donald Murray was rejected from this law school because of its racial acceptance policy and won the case against Maryland which led to Murray graduating two years later.

8Missouri ex el Gaines v. Canada

In 1938 the Supreme Court ruled that Lionel Gates, an aspiring law student, must be admitted to the all-white University of Missouri School of Law in the Missouri ex el Gaines v. Canada case.

9Bolling v. Sharpe

In 1947 Garly Bishop attempted to get eleven African American students enrolled in the newly John Philip Sousa Junior High School but were turned away even when the institution had several seats left. This resulted in the Bolling v. Sharpe case.

10Sweatt v. Painter

Sweatt v. Painter of 1950 was influenced by their victory of the Gaines case. When Heman Sweatt tried to segregate the law school at University of Texas he instead, along with other African American law student hopefuls were funded an all “black” school instead of learning aside white law students. Sweatt argued that the caliber of the education they were receiving was not that of the “white” law students which lingered to the Supreme Court who ruled in his favor.

11Plessy v. Ferguson

In 1950 Thurgood Marshall led an overturn of the Plessy v. Ferguson case that urged the Court to end segregation of African American students in law and graduate school at Oklahoma State called the Sweatt v. Painter and McLauren v. Oklahoma State Regents cases.

12Belton v. Gebhart

Belton v. Gebhart in 1951 was created parents whose children were forced to send their children to a downhill segregated high school in Wilmington rather than a school in the community. Bulah v. Gebhart initiated by Sarah Bulah, a concerned parent made attempts to convince the Delaware Department of Public Instruction to provide bus transportation for black children in the town of Hockessin

13The Brown v. Board of Education

The Brown v. Board of Education also led by Marshall was a series of five cases to desegregate schools in 1954.

14Brown vs. Board II

Five years later in 1955 Brown vs. Board II, the Supreme Court demanded that school systems must do away with racially dual systems but with “deliberate” speed, a line that would affect the school system years later.

15Montgomery bus system

The Supreme Court ruled in 1956 the case of the residents of Montgomery that segregation of the Montgomery bus system was illegal.

16Cooper v. Aaron

In 1958 the Supreme Court stated that officials could not nullify the implementing of desegregation efforts in the Cooper v. Aaron case in Little Rock, Arkansas.

17F.W. Woolworth’s Lunch

On February 1, 1960 four black university students started a sit-in at a segregated F.W. Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C

18Executive Order 10925

March 6, 1960 President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, prohibiting discrimination in federal government hiring on the basis of race and religion.

19Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. in 1960

20The 24th Amendment

The 24th Amendment abolished the poll tax that made it difficult for blacks to vote which had been created in 11 southern states on January 23, 1964

21Civil Rights Act of 1866

In Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co of 1968 the Court stated that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 bans discrimination in housing by private.

22Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education

In Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the Court ruled that busing was a legal rule for addressing illegal segregation of the schools in 1971.

23Milliken v. Bradley

In a 1974 case named Milliken v. Bradley involving the Detroit metropolitan area, the Court stopped school busing at the city’s borders. This 5-4 vote blocked the city suburb desegregation plan that involved busing around school district’s boundaries.

24Milliken II of 1977

Milliken II of 1977 allowed the Court to order the state of Michigan and the Detroit school system to give money to a plan to address the educational deficits faced by African American children.

25Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In 1968 the Supreme Court ruled that the medical school’s special admissions setting aside a number of seats for minorities violated the Title VI Civil Rights Act of 1964.

26Mobile v. Bolden

In 1980 the City of Mobile v. Bolden, the Court interpreted the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It stated that in order to create a violation the government must prove that any change in the practices of voting that hurts minorities was motivated by discriminatory intent. It was later overturned by the 1982 Voting Rights Act Amendments.

27Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education

In Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education (1986) the Court says that a public employer couldn’t lay off more senior white workers to protect the jobs of less senior black workers as a result of lawful affirmative action programs.

28City of Richmond v. Croson

The Court’s ruling in City of Richmond v. Croson in 1989 invalidated Richmond, Virginia’s local ordinance establishing a minority business set aside program.