Since the Civil War, much of the concern over civil rights in the United States has focused on efforts to extend these rights fully to African Americans. Resistance to racial segregation and discrimination with strategies such as civil disobedience, nonviolent resistance, marches, protests, boycotts, "freedom rides," and rallies received national attention in the struggle to end racial inequality. There were also continuing efforts to legally challenge segregation through the courts. .
Following the "separate but equal" decision of Plessy V. Ferguson in 1896, many Americans decided to push for equality. In 1952 the Supreme Court was approached by four states, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, along with the District of Columbia, challenging the segregation in public schools. They wanted desegregation because they felt that the current segregation was unequal and that their freedoms were being violated.
Black fifth grader Linda Brown of Topeka, Kansas was not allowed to attend a white elementary school. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took up the case along with similar cases in the four other states. Brown V. Board of Education was argued in December of 1952 by black lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who was head of the NAACP. The case was argued for two years. On May seventeenth, 1954, a decision was reached. The Supreme Court decided that segregation was unlawful because it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection and due process. "This event was the turning point in the desegregation of public schools, and the beginning to equality among all races." (Hartin).
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a campaign in 1955 and 1956 to get rid of racial segregation in Montgomery, Alabama. It was considered the first step of the Civil Rights Movement.
On December first, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up a bus seat in Montgomery. She was therefore arrested and found guilty of violating the city's segregation ordinances.