In Cooper v. Aaron, the Supreme Court ruled that the governor and legislature of Arkansas were bound by the court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The case affirmed the Supreme Court’s rulings and interpretation of the US Constitution as the “supreme law of the land.”
Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway to great success and interest. The play told the story of a black Chicago family trying to move out of the city and into an all-white neighborhood.
Ninety-six members of the House and Senate signed the “Southern Manifesto” condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education and declaring that the decision would have the effect of “destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through ninety years of patient effort by the good people of both races.”
Members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, an African American church, in Birmingham, Alabama. The bomb was detonated just before a Sunday service, killing four young girls and injuring fourteen other people.
Black veteran James Meredith arrived to begin classes at the University of Mississippi. Thousands of whites rioted, resulting in two deaths and 160 injuries. US troops were sent in to suppress the violence. Despite threats on his life, Meredith graduated in 1963. He had originally been rejected from the university because of his race.
In Boynton v. Virginia, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s conviction of an African American man who refused to leave a whites-only bus terminal restaurant. The Court ruled that the arrest violated the Interstate Commerce Act, which “forbids any interstate common carrier by motor vehicle to subject any person to unjust discrimination.”