The civil rights movement in 1965 was fraught with assassination, brutal attacks, and an attempt to deny Black Americans the right to vote. In February, Malcolm X, a Black religious leader and human rights activist, was slain. Bloody Sunday followed in March when 600 civil rights protesters attempted to walk from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, to oppose the suppression of the Black vote. As a result, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was ultimately signed into law in August. The civil rights movement succeeded in getting legislation passed, but the fight against racism, discrimination, and hatred was far from over.
The years from 1955 to 1965 are at the heart of the civil rights movement—from the Montgomery bus boycott to the Voting Rights Act. The contributions of key activists, including Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Barbara Nash, and Malcolm X, are part of the narrative. Demonstrations of passive resistance and legal challenges were often met with bloodshed and violence against Black Americans fighting to end segregation and discrimination. Yet the courage of those yearning for equal opportunities under the law ultimately produced legislation affirming that every American should have the same constitutional rights, regardless of color, race, or gender.