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(CNN Student News) -- Use the following timeline to learn about some of the key events in civil rights history.
1783 Massachusetts outlaws slavery within its borders.
1808 The importation of slaves is banned in the U.S., though illegal slave trade continues.
1820 The Missouri Compromise to maintain a balance of 12 slave and 12 free states.
1831 In Virginia, Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion during which 57 whites are killed. U.S. troops kill 100 slaves. Turner is caught and hanged.
1850 In the Compromise of 1850, California is admitted into the union as a Fugitive Slave Laws are strengthened and slave trade ends in Washington, D.C.
1857 The Supreme Court rules in the Dred Scott case that slaves do not become free when taken into a free state, that Congress cannot bar slavery from a territory and that blacks cannot become citizens.
1861 Southern states secede and form the Confederate States of America; Civil War begins.
1863 President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation freeing "all slaves in areas still in rebellion."
1868 The 14th Amendment, which requires equal protection under the law to all persons, is ratified.
1870 The 15th Amendment, which bans racial discrimination in voting, is ratified.
1896 The Supreme Court approves the "separate but equal" segregation doctrine.
1909 The National Negro Committee convenes. This leads to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
1925 In its first national demonstration the Ku Klux Klan marches on Washington, D.C.
1948 President Truman issues an executive order outlawing segregation in the U.S. military.
1954 The Supreme Court declares school segregation unconstitutional in its ruling on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
1957 Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus uses the National Guard to block nine black students from attending Little Rock High School. Following a court order, President Eisenhower sends in federal troops to allow the black students to enter the school.
1960 Four black college students begin sit-ins at the lunch counter of a Greensboro, North Carolina, restaurant where black patrons are not served.
1961 Freedom Rides begin from Washington, D.C., into Southern states. Student volunteers are bused in to test new laws prohibiting segregation.
1967 Thurgood Marshall becomes the first black to be named to the Supreme Court.
1976 Negro History Week becomes Black History Month.
1978 The Supreme Court rules, in a well-known reverse discrimination case (Bakke), that medical school admission programs that allow for positions based on race are unconstitutional.
1983 The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday is established.
1988 The Democratically controlled Congress overrides a presidential veto to pass the Civil Rights Restoration Act. President Ronald Reagan vetoed the law saying it gave the federal government overreaching powers.
1990 President George H.W. Bush vetoes a civil rights bill that he says would impose quotas for employers. A civil rights bill without quotas passes in 1991.
2003 The Supreme Court upholds the University of Michigan Law School's policy, ruling that race can be one of many factors considered by colleges when selecting their students.
2006 Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., dies at the age of 78 of a stroke. Mrs. King had moved into the forefront of the civil rights movement after the passing of her husband in 1968.
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