May 17, 1954: The Supreme Court rules "separate but equal" unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
Dec. 1, 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give her seat to a white passenger, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott begins. It ends Dec. 21, 1956, when the Montgomery buses were desegregated.
Jan.-Feb. 1957: Martin Luther King Jr. becomes the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King, Charles K. Steele and Fred L. Shuttlesworth establish the SCLC.
Feb. 1, 1960: Four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College students stage sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., starting a movement.
May 4, 1961: Freedom Riders travel to the South to help integrate interstate travel facilities including bus and railway stations in the South. The Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee sponsor the program, which has more than 1,000 black and white student volunteers from across the nation.
Aug. 28, 1963: Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial to 250,000 people in the March on Washington.
Sept.15, 1963: Four black girls are murdered during the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
July 2, 1964: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin in addition to giving the federal government powers to enforce integration.