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Civil Rights Movement Timeline From 1965 to 1969

This civil rights movement timeline focuses on the struggles final years, when some activists embraced black power, and leaders no longer appealed to the federal government to end segregation, thanks to the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Although the passage of such legislation was a major triumph for civil rights activists, Northern cities continued to suffer from de facto segregation, or segregation that was the result of economic inequality rather than discriminatory laws.

De facto segregation was not as easily addressed as the legalized segregation that had existed in the South, and Martin Luther King Jr. spent the mid-to-late 1960s working on behalf of of both black and white Americans living in poverty. African-Americans in Northern cities became increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of change, and a number of cities experienced riots.

Some turned to the black power movement, feeling that it had a better chance of rectifying the sort of discrimination that existed in the North. By the end of the decade, white Americans had moved their attention away from the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War, and the heady days of change and victory experienced by civil rights activists in the early 1960s came to an end with Kings assassination in 1968.

On March 7, 600 civil rights activists, including Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), leave Selma, Ala., traveling eastward on Route 80 toward Montgomery, Ala. They are marching to protest the killing of Jimmy Lee Jackson, an unarmed demonstrator slain during a march the prior month by an Alabama state trooper. State troopers and local police stop the marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, beating them with clubs as well as spraying them with water hoses and tear gas.

On Aug. 11, a riot breaks out in Watts, a section of Los Angeles, after a fight erupts between a white traffic officer and an black man accused