"Separate but equal" was a phrase that continued to be a way of life for African Americans for many years. The 14th Amendment was suppose to unify our country and lead us into a better direction, but Jim Crow Laws passed around the south along with the supreme court ruling of Plessy Vs. Ferguson in 1892 continued to keep the country divided.

Check out the power point to find out more about Plessy Vs. Ferguson

Separate but equal was also found in the military as well in civilian life. African American soldiers were usually placed in different units from whites and were given different missions than others.

Tuskegee Airman

One group that proved their worth in the military during World War II were the Tuskegee Airmen. This group of African American pilots were a valuable part of winning the war through the leadership of men like Benjamin O. Davis. Check out the video clip below to learn more about these airmen.

After World War II

Many African American WWII veterans were coming back from the war hated to come back to a segregated nation and not being able to eat at the same places as whites.

Push for Change


One way that African Americans wanted to see change was through education. A little girl named Linda Brown was 9 years old and had to travel many miles just to attend school.

A white school was right up the street and offered more than the school she attends offers. The Brown family decided it was not right and decided to make a difference.

With the help of lawyer Thurgood Marshall the Browns sued the Topkea, Kansas school district and begin the process of equality. This case made its way to the supreme court. With a 9-0 decision by the Supreme courtjustices, the Browns as well as other African American children won the right for equality in public schools. ce9f12c306b5c40b917ff321cee8e0d5.jpg

Click on the document above and answer the questions that follow the passage.

Check out the video about the Supreme court decision and its effects.

Little Rock 9

Even though the Supreme Court ruled that public schools were required to integrate. Sadly though, certain areas of the country did not abide by this rule.
Little Rock Arkansas was the place where America had all of its eyes on a high school named Central High School in 1957. 9 African American students tried to enter this all white school. These students were met by extreme negativity and hatred because of their race. If that wasn't bad enough, the Governor of Arkansas sent soldier from the National Guard to the school to block these students from entering.

Over time, President Eisenhower became involved. He told the governor that what he was doing violated the federal law. The Governor refused to let the 9 African American students enter the school. Eisenhower sent 101 military in as an escort for the students to enter the school. Check out the video clips below to learn more about these 9 African American students and their experience of this major event in American history.

Once the battle began, other African Americans decided they wanted to make change. Many African American took the bus to work everyday. Along with many other aspects of culture, the bus also was segregated between whites and blacks. Black usually were forced to sit in the back. One evening a young woman named Rosa Parks just wanted to get home after a long day. She was tired and found the first place she could find. Of course once whites came on board, she was suppose to move to the back but she refused. This led to her arrest. 220px-Rosaparks_bus.jpg

After the arrest, a Baptist minister named Martin Luther King Jr. helped to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott that help set the ball rolling for the Civil Rights Movement.

Check out the video clip about the Bus Boycott


Check out the video clip from King explaining the reason for the boycott


King and other Civil Rights leaders stressed African Americans to not give up and to put the cause of gaining equality. The bus boycott lasted for over a year and led to legislation that made segregation of public transportation illegal in 1956.

Small changes were taking place in America but leaders wanted to see a massive change in segregation and gain equality.

The Movement Begins

Once King and other leaders realized the value of African Americans participating in NON VIOLENT protest to get their point across, the movement began. Click on the link below to learn more on how these leaders organized the masses and train them to be a par of the Civil Rights Movement.


Sit-ins and Freedom rides were just a few examples of how African Americans worked to prove their point of equality.
Check out the clip to learn more about the Nashville Sit-in led by Diane Nash.

Tent City

Haywood and Fayette County were locations that sparked national attention to the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 60s. These counties in Tennessee had a large African American population, but few were registered voters. Civil and Welfare groups in these areas worked together to try and change this. As a result, many ended up living in what was known as "Tent City" or "Freedom Village" for almost two years. Click on the following links to learn more about it.




King and other leaders also organized marches to promote their cause. One march that turned violent was Birmingham March in May of 1963. Children that range in age from 6 to 16 marched in Birmingham.

During the march, police chief Eugene "Bull" Conner gave orders to stop the march. He ordered police dogs and fire hoses to be used against the marchers. All of these attacks were televised on national television.300px-Birmingham_campaign_dogs.jpg

Check out the following website to read more about the march and the impact it made around the country.


The Birmingham march sparked President Kennedy to make a change. Kennedy and others helped to prepare legislation to provide equality for African Americans. Unfortunately, Kennedy was killed before any laws could be put in place. When Lyndon Johnson took over as president, he vowed to push the Civil Rights Act that Kennedy began. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed which now provided equal rights for all African Americans.

Watch the video clip about the Birmingham March