July 27 – The Charleston, Arkansas school board unanimously votes to end segregation in the school district. Ending segregation for first through twelfth grades, the Charleston school district was the first school district among the former Confederate States to desegregate. The schools opened for the new school year on August 23.
November 7 – The Interstate Commerce Commission bans bus segregation in interstate travel in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company. On the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court bans segregation on public parks and playgrounds. The governor of Georgia responds that his state would "get out of the park business" rather than allow playgrounds to be desegregated.
December 1 – Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus, starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This occurs nine months after 15-year-old high school student Claudette Colvin became the first to refuse to give up her seat. Colvin's was the legal case which eventually ended the practice in Montgomery.
January 9 – Virginia voters and representatives decide to fund private schools with state money to maintain segregation.
January 16 – FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover writes a rare open letter of complaint directed to civil rights leader Dr. T.R.M. Howard after Howard charged in a speech that the "FBI can pick up pieces of a fallen airplane on the slopes of a Colorado mountain and find the man who caused the crash, but they can't find a white man when he kills a Negro in the South." 
January 24 – Governors of Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia agree to block integration of schools.
February 1 – Virginia legislature passes a resolution that the U.S. Supreme Court integration decision was an "illegal encroachment".
February 3 – Autherine Lucy is admitted to the University of Alabama. Whites riot for days, and she is suspended. Later, she is expelled for her part in filing legal action against the university.
February/March – The Southern Manifesto, opposing integration of schools, is drafted and signed by members of the Congressional delegations of Southern states, including 19 senators and 81 members of the House of Representatives, notably the entire delegations of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia. On March 12, it is released to the press.
September 2–11 – Teargas and National Guard used to quell segregationists rioting in Clinton, Tennessee; 12 black students enter high school under Guard protection. Smaller disturbances occur in Mansfield, Texas and Sturgis, Kentucky.
September 10 – Two black students are prevented by a mob from entering a junior college in Texarkana, Texas. Schools in Louisville, Kentucky are successfully desegregated.
September 12 – Four black children enter an elementary school in Clay, Kentucky under National Guard protection; white students boycott. The school board bars the four again on September 17.
October 15 – Integrated athletic or social events are banned in Louisiana.
November 13 – In Browder v. Gayle, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Alabama laws requiring segregation of buses. This ruling, together with the ICC's 1955 ruling in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach banning "Jim Crow laws" in bus travel among the states, is a landmark in outlawing "Jim Crow" in bus travel.
December 20 – Federal marshals enforce the ruling to desegregate bus systems in Montgomery.
December 24 – Blacks in Tallahassee, Florida begin defying segregation on city buses.
June 30 – In NAACP v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the NAACP was not required to release membership lists to continue operating in the state.
July – NAACP Youth Council sponsored sit-ins at the lunch counter of a Dockum Drug Store in downtown Wichita, Kansas. After three weeks, the movement successfully gets the store to change its policy and soon afterward all Dockum stores in Kansas are desegregated.
August 19 – Clara Luper and the NAACP Youth Council conduct the largest successful sit-in to date, on drug store lunch-counters in Oklahoma City. This starts a successful six-year campaign by Luper and the Council to desegregate businesses and related institutions in Oklahoma City.
September 2 – Governor J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. of Virginia threatens to shut down any school if it is forced to integrate.
September 4 – Justice Department sues under Civil Rights Act to force Terrell County, Georgia to register blacks to vote.
September 8 – A Federal judge orders Louisiana State University to desegregate; sixty-nine African-Americans enroll successfully on September 12.
September 12 – In Cooper v. Aaron the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the states were bound by the Court's decisions. Governor Faubus responds by shutting down all four high schools in Little Rock, and Governor Almond shuts one in Front Royal, Virginia.
September 18 – Governor Lindsay closes two more schools in Charlottesville, Virginia, and six in Norfolk on September 27.
September 29 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that states may not use evasive measures to avoid desegregation.
October 8 – A Federal judge in Harrisonburg, VA rules that public money may not be used for segregated private schools.
October 20 – Thirteen blacks arrested for sitting in front of bus in Birmingham.
November 28 – Federal court throws out Louisiana law against integrated athletic events.
December 8 – Voter registration officials in Montgomery refuse to cooperate with US Civil Rights Commission investigation.
January 9 – One Federal judge throws out segregation on Atlanta, Georgia, buses, while another orders Montgomery registrars to comply with the Civil Rights Commission.
January 19 – Federal Appeals court overturns Virginia's closure of the schools in Norfolk; they reopen January 28 with 17 black students.
April 18 – Martin Luther King Jr. speaks for the integration of schools at a rally of 26,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
November 20 – Alabama passes laws to limit black voter registration.
February 13 – The Nashville, TennesseeSit-in begins, although the Nashville students, trained by activist and nonviolent teacher James Lawson, had been doing preliminary groundwork towards the action for two months. The sit-in ends successfully in May.
May 4 – The first group of Freedom Riders, with the intent of integrating interstate buses, leaves Washington, D.C. by Greyhound bus. The group, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), leaves shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court has outlawed segregation in interstate transportation terminals.
May 21 – MLK, the Freedom Riders, and congregation of 1,500 at Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s First Baptist Church in Montgomery are besieged by mob of segregationists; RFK as Attorney General sends federal marshals to protect them.
September 25 – Voter registration activist and NAACP member Herbert Lee is shot and killed by a white state legislator in McComb, Mississippi.
November 1 – All interstate buses required to display a certificate that reads: “Seating aboard this vehicle is without regard to race, color, creed, or national origin, by order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.”
November 17 – SNCC workers help encourage and coordinate black activism in Albany, Georgia, culminating in the founding of the Albany Movement as a formal coalition.
November 22 – Three high school students from Chatmon's Youth Council arrested after using “positive actions” by walking into white sections of the Albany bus station.
November 22 – Albany State College students Bertha Gober and Blanton Hall arrested after entering the white waiting room of the Albany Trailways station.
December 10 – Freedom Riders from Atlanta, SNCC leader Charles Jones, and Albany State student Bertha Gober are arrested at Albany Union Railway Terminal, sparking mass demonstrations, with hundreds of protesters arrested over the next five days.
December 11–15 – Five hundred protesters arrested in Albany, Georgia.
December 15 – King arrives in Albany, Georgia in response to a call from Dr. W. G. Anderson, the leader of the Albany Movement to desegregate public facilities.
December 16 – King is arrested at an Albany, Georgia demonstration. He is charged with obstructing the sidewalk and parading without a permit.
December 18 – Albany truce, including a 60-day postponement of King's trial; King leaves town.
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, a white southerner who deliberately darkened his skin to pass as a Negro in the Deep South, is published, describing "Jim Crow" segregation for a national audience.
January 18–20 – Student protests over sit-in leaders’ expulsions at Baton Rouge’s Southern University, the nation's largest black school, close it down.
September 30-October 1 – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black orders James Meredith admitted to Ole Miss.; he enrolls and a white riot ensues. French photographer Paul Guihard and Oxford resident Ray Gunter are killed.
April – Mary Lucille Hamilton, Field Secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality, refuses to answer a judge in Gadsden, Alabama, until she is addressed by the honorific "Miss". /at the time, it was southern custom to address white people by honorifics and people of color by their first names. Jailed for contempt of court Hamilton refused to pay bail. The case Hamilton v. Alabama is filed by the NAACP. It reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 1964 that courts must address persons of color with the same courtesy extended to whites.
April 7 – Ministers John Thomas Porter, Nelson H. Smith and A.D. King lead a group of 2,000 marchers to protest the jailing of movement leaders in Birmingham.
April 12 – Dr. King is arrested in Birmingham for "parading without a permit".
May 2–4 – Birmingham's juvenile court is inundated with African-American children and teenagers arrested after James Bevel, SCLC's Director of Direct Action and Director of Nonviolent Education, launches his "D-Day" youth march. The actions spans three days to become the Birmingham Children's Crusade where over a thousand children and students are arrested. The images of fire hoses and police dogs turned on the protesters are televised around the world.
May 9–10 – The Children's Crusade lays the groundwork for the terms of a negotiated truce on Thursday, May 9, which puts an end to mass demonstrations in return for rolling back segregation laws and practices. Dr. King and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth announce the settlement terms on Friday, May 10, only after King holds out to orchestrate the release of thousands of jailed demonstrators with bail money from Harry Belafonte and Robert Kennedy.
May 11–12 – A double bombing in Birmingham, probably organized by the KKK with help from local police, precipitates rioting, police retaliation, intervention of state troopers, and finally mobilization of federal troops.
June 11 – President Kennedy makes his historic civil rights address, promising a bill to Congress the next week. About civil rights for "Negroes", in his speech he asks for "the kind of equality of treatment which we would want for ourselves."
Summer – 80,000 blacks quickly register to vote in Mississippi by a test project to show their desire to participate in the political system.
June 19 – President Kennedy sends Congress (H. Doc. 124, 88th Cong., 1st session.) his proposed Civil Rights Act. White leaders in business and philanthropy gather at the Carlyle Hotel to raise initial funds for the Council on United Civil Rights Leadership
August 28 – Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Northwest Baltimore, County, Maryland is desegregated.
All year – The Alabama Voting Rights Project continues organizing led by James Bevel, Diane Nash, and James Orange. The SCLC is not yet participating. Bevel represents it as Director of Direct Action and Director of Nonviolent Education.
All year - Throughout Mississippi approximately fifty Freedom Libraries are established and ran by librarian volunteers.
Summer – Freedom Summer – movement for voter education and registration in the Mississippi. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was founded and elected an alternative slate of delegates for the national convention, as blacks are still officially disenfranchised.
June 9 – Bloody Tuesday – peaceful marchers beaten, arrested and tear gassed by Tuscaloosa, Alabama police on a peaceful march to the County Courthouse to protest whites-only restroom signs and drinking fountains
July 2 – Civil Rights Act of 1964 signed, banning discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex or national origin" in employment practices and public accommodations.
August – Congress passes the Economic Opportunity Act which, among other things, provides federal funds for legal representation of Native Americans in both civil and criminal suits. This allows the ACLU and the American Bar Association to represent Native Americans in cases that later win them additional civil rights.
March 9 – Joined by clergy from all over the country who responded to his urgent appeals for reinforcements in Selma, King leads a second attempt to cross the Pettus Bridge. Although amassed law enforcement personnel are ordered to draw back when the protesters near the foot of the bridge on the other side, King responds by telling the marchers to turn around, and they return to Brown Chapel nearby. He thereby obeys a just-minted federal order prohibiting the group from walking the highway to Montgomery.
March 21 – Participants in the third and successful Selma to Montgomery march stepped off on a five-day 54-mile march to Montgomery, Alabama's capitol.
March 25 – After the successful completion of the Selma to Montgomery March, and after Dr. King has delivered his "How Long, Not Long" speech on the steps of the state capitol, a white volunteer, Viola Liuzzo, is shot and killed by KKK members in Alabama, one of whom was an FBI informant.
August 6 – Voting Rights Act of 1965 is signed by President Johnson. It provides for federal oversight and enforcement of voter registration in states and individual voting districts with a history of discriminatory tests and underrepresented populations. It prohibits discriminatory practices preventing African Americans and other minorities from registering and voting, and electoral systems diluting their vote.
June - August – Over 150 communities burn during the Long, Hot Summer of 1967. The largest and deadliest riots of the summer take place in Newark, New Jersey and Detroit with 26 fatalities reported in Newark and 43 people losing their lives in the Motor City.
April 11 – Civil Rights Act of 1968 is signed. The Fair Housing Act is Title VIII of this Civil Rights Act, and bans discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing. The law is passed following a series of Open Housing campaigns throughout the urban North, the most significant being the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement and the organized events in Milwaukee during 1967–68. In both cities, angry white mobs had attacked nonviolent protesters.
October 16 – In Mexico City, African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a black power salute after winning, respectively, the gold and bronze medals in the Olympic men's 200 metres.
December 23 – In Powe v. Miles, a federal court holds that the portions of private colleges that are funded by public money are subject to the Civil Rights Act.