Martin Luther King Jr. organized a freedom march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, to protest voter registration interference by the police. The march was halted when Alabama state troopers stopped and beat the protestors at Pettus Bridge. The march resumed with 3,200 protestors on March 21. They were escorted at President Johnson’s orders by the National Guard. The march reached Montgomery with more than 25,000 protestors on March 25.
In Shelly v. Kraemer, the Supreme Court reinforced the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws" when it ruled that state courts could not enforce racially restrictive housing covenants.
Martin Luther King Jr. and others formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott. The SCLC remained active and influential in the Civil Rights Movement throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
A group of African American and white activists left Washington, DC, for New Orleans in the first Freedom Ride. Freedom Riders intended to test the enforcement of the ban on segregation in interstate bus travel. The riders faced violent attacks and arrest. Local police forces did nothing to protect them from angry white mobs. Eventually the National Guard was called in for the riders’ protection. On May 29, Robert F. Kennedy petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce the interstate travel segregation ban.
The President’s Committee on Civil Rights released To Secure These Rights, a report that condemned segregation, called for the integration of American society, and made numerous recommendations for the protection of civil rights.
The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. The amendment prohibited poll taxes for federal elections, which had often been imposed by state and local governments to prevent African Americans from voting.
Thirty-four people were killed, one thousand people were wounded, and $50 million in property damage occured over a six-day period during a race riot in the Watts section of Los Angeles. The riot was sparked by the arrest of a black driver by a white police officer.