1963: The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. writes "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to eight clergymen who attacked his
role in Birmingham. Widely reprinted, it soon becomes a classic of protest literature.
1963: The Civil Rights Movement reaches its climax with a massive march on Washington, D.C. Among the themes of
the march "for jobs and freedom" was a demand for passage of the Civil Rights Act.
1964: The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in Oslo, Norway.
1965: The Voting Rights Act is passed following the Selma -to-Montgomery March, which garnered the nation's attention when
marchers were beaten mercilessly by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
1965: The Watts area of Los Angeles explodes into violence following the arrest of a young male motorist charged with reckless
driving. At the riot's end, 34 are dead, 1,032 injured, and 3,952 arrested.
1966: Bill Russell, one of the greatest defeniive centers in the history of basketball, becomes the first black coach of a
major professional sports team (the Boston Celtics) in the history of the United States.
1967: Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali refuses to submit to induction into the armed forces. Convicted of violating the
Selective Service Act, Ali is barred from the ring and stripped of his title.
1968: On April 4 the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. The assassination is followed
by a week of rioting in at least 125 cities across the nation, including Washington, D.C.
1968: Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy succeeds him as president of the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference, carrying out the SCLC's Poor People's Campaign.
1968: Amira Baraka (formerly Leroi Jones) and Larry Neal publish "Black Fire; An Anthology of Afro-American Writing"
in the spirit of the black aesthetic movement, which sought to create a popularist art form to promote black nationalism.
1969: Bobby Seale, Black Panther co-founder is ordered bound and gagged by the judge in the Chicago "conspiracy trial"
after protests by Seale that he was being denied his constitutional right to counsel.
1971: Author Ernest J. Gaines publishes "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman", a fictional remembrance by an
elderly black woman of the years between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement.
1963: Sidney P:oitier wins the Academy Award as best actor for his performance in Lillies of the Field. In 1967
he stars in two films concerning race relations, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In The Heat of the NIght.
1964: Leroi Jones' play Dutchman appears off Broadway and wins critical acclaim. The play exposes the
suppressed anger and hostility of American blacks toward the dominant white culture.
1964: Bob Gibson, great pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, begins an unprecedented streak of seven straight World Series
wins by taking Game Five and, on two days' rest, Game Seven.
1966: The black Panther Party for Self Defense is founded in Oakland, California, by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, with the
original purpose of protecting residents from acts of police brutality.
1966: The African-American holiday of Kwanzaa, patterned after various African harvest festivals, is created by Maulana Karenga,
a black-studies professor at California State University at Long Beach.
1967: Singer Aretha Franklin releases a series of hits including "I Never Loved a Man," "Baby, I Love You,"
and "Respect", the last of which becomes something of an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement.
1967: Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, is convicted on a charge of manslaughter in the death of an Oakland
policeman, leading to the rapid expansion of the party nationwide.
1968: After winning the gold medal, sprinter Tommie Smith and teammate John Carlos give the black-power salute during the
awards ceremony, leading to their suspension by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
1968: Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress, defeating civil rights leader
1970: Angela Davis is arraigned on charges of murder,
kidnapping, and conspiracy for her alleged participation
in a violent attempted escape from the Hall of Justice in Marin county, California.
1964: Malcolm X leaves the Nation of Islam, announcing the formation of his own religious organization. He makes
the pilgrimage to Mecca, modifying his views on black separatism upon his return.
1964: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law, giving federal law enforcement agencies the power to prevent
racial discrimination in employment, voting, and the use of public facilities.
1964: Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane records his famous work, "A Love Supreme"
1966: Charting a new course for the Civil Rights Movement, Stokeley Carmichael, chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, chooses to use the phrase "black power" at a rally during the James Meredith March that summer in Mississippi.
1967: After being denied his seat in the Georgia state legislature (after being duly elected) for opposing U.S. involvement
in the Vietnam War, civil-rights activist Julian Bond is finally sworn in on January 9.
1967: Blues and rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix makes his spectacular debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival, following
the successful release of his first album, "Are You Experienced".
1968: Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panther Party's minister of information, publishes his autobiographical volume "Soul
1968: Bob Beamon sets the world record in the long jump at the 1968 Olylmpic Games in Mexico City, surpassing the previous
mark by 21-3/4 inches.
1968: Actor James Earl Jones wins acclaim and a Tony award for his portrayal of legendary boxer Jack Johnson in Howard Sackler's
play "The Great White Hope" and later stars in the film version (1970)
1970: Baseball player Curt Flood, with the backing of the Major League Baseball Players Association, unsuccessfully challenges
the reserve clause but begins its eventual demise.
1972: Writer Ishmael Reed publishes "Mumbo Jumbo". Its irreverent tone successfully revives the tradition of the
black satiric novel.