Civil Rights Act 50th Anniversary: Key Photographs of the US Civil Rights Movement

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin in the US.

The act was called for by President John F Kennedy in his civil rights speech of 11 June 1963 and signed into law by President Lyndon B Johnson on 2 July 1964.

To mark the anniversary, IBTimesUK looks back at key moments in the struggle.

10 September 1957: White students display a racist placard at Woodlawn High school in Birmingham, Alabama. About 100 white students refused to go to school as integration tension plagued the cityAFP
25 September 1957: Nine black children are escorted by US paratroopers in full battle dress from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. US President Eisenhower had decided the day before to bring the state under Federal control to protect black children against white demonstrators. Governor of Arkansas Orval Faubus had ordered the state militia to bar the entry of the black children to the school. He said he would never allow black children to enter a white school despite the order from the Federal District CourtAFP
25th May 1961: A group of Black Americans are arrested for "breaching the peace" by using "white only" facilities as they get off the 'Freedom Bus' at Jackson, Mississippi. In 1960 a US Supreme Court decision ruled that segregation was unconstitutional for passengers engaged in interstate travel, but the South resisted the changeGetty
12 June 1963: George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, faces General Henry Graham at the University of Alabama after he refused to enrol two African-American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. In response, President Kennedy federalised the Alabama National Guard, and one hundred guardsman escorted the students to campusGetty
August 28, 1963: President John F Kennedy meets with Martin Luther King, Jr and other civil rights leaders at the White HouseAFP
28 August 1963: Martin Luther King, Jr waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall in Washington DC, scene of the famous "I Have a Dream" speechGetty
26 March 1964: The only recorded meeting between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, waiting to attend the Senate's debate on the Civil Rights billLibrary of Congress
14 May 1964: National Guardsmen with bared bayonets hold back a group of demonstrators protesting segregation in Cambridge, Maryland. Shortly after, Brig Gen George Gelston (far right), commander of the Guardsmen, ordered his men to fire tear gas into the group when they refused to disperseAFP
2 July 1964: US President Lyndon B Johnson hands a pen to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr after signing the historic Civil Rights Act in the East Room of the White House, which outlawed discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or national originAFP
July 1964: Investigators uncover the remains of civil rights volunteers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney under thick red clay of an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The volunteers, all in their 20s, died at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan while working to register black voters during the Freedom Summer civil rights campaign in the segregated SouthGetty
10 December 1964: Martin Luther King, Jr receives the Nobel Prize for Peace in OsloGetty
7 March 1965: Alabama state troopers attack a black voting rights march outside Selma, Alabama, on Bloody SundayFBI
March 1965: Participants in a black voting rights march through Alabama. On the third attempt, Dr Martin Luther King successfully led the march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in MontgomeryGetty
6 August 1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 while Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and others look onLyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
June 1966: Participants on the Meredith Mississippi March are tear-gased by the Mississippi Highway Patrol near the town of Canton. The march began when civil rights campaigner James Meredith set out to walk from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, to encourage African-Americans along the way to register and vote. After Meredith was shot and wounded, other civil rights campaigners continued the march in his nameGetty
8 April 1968: American civil rights activist Martin Luther King lies in state after he was assassinated in Memphis, TennesseeGetty
9 April 1968: Coretta Scott King leads the "March on Memphis" five days after the assassination of her husband, civil rights leader Martin Luther King. On her right, her daughter, Yolanda, walks with her sons Martin and Dexter; on her left appear King's successor, the Rev Ralph Abernathy, and Andrew Young, later US President Jimmy Carter's ambassador to the United Nations and mayor of AtlantaAFP

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