14 iconic civil rights moments

Since 1976 the United States of America has recognized February as Black History Month. This time is used to honor and celebrate those who have broken boundaries as well defining moments in history.

The origins of Black History month date back to 1915 when Carter G. Woodson -- a Harvard educated historian -- and minister Jesse. E. Moorland created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. In 1926 they sponsored a national Negro History week and chose to celebrate it during the second week of February so that it would overlap with Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass's birthdays.

In the years to come similar celebrations would pop up in cities all over the country. As it gained popularity the week soon turned into a month. Soon after the Civil Rights movement President Gerald R. Ford would officially declare February as Black History Month.

In honor of Black History month we revisit the moments that defined the civil rights movement:

15 PHOTOS
Iconic Civil Rights moments
See Gallery
Iconic Civil Rights moments
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: (FILES) US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., waves to supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 28 August, 1963, on The Mall in Washington, DC, during the 'March on Washington' where King delivered his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech, which is credited with mobilizing supporters of desegregation and prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The US is celebrating in 2004 what would have been King's 75th birthday. King was assassinated on 04 April, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, AL - MAY 1963: African American children are attacked by dogs and water cannons during a protest against segregation organized by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth in May 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Black Protesters Kneeling Before City Hall, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, Minutes Before Being Arrested for Parading Without a Permit, April 6, 1963. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
March 1965: Participants in a black voting rights march in Alabama. Dr Martin Luther King led the march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images)
Rosa Parks sits in the front of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, after the Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal on the city bus system on December 21st, 1956. Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat in the front of a bus in Montgomery set off a successful boycott of the city busses. Man sitting behind Parks is Nicholas C. Chriss, a reporter for United Press International out of Atlanta.
Elizabeth Eckford ignores the hostile screams and stares of fellow students on her first day of school. She was one of the nine negro students whose integration into Little Rock's Central High School was ordered by a Federal Court following legal action by NAACP.
(Original Caption) Passengers of this smoking Greyhound bus, some of the members of the 'Freedom Riders,' a group sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), sit on the ground after the bus was set afire 5/14, by a mob of Caucasians who followed the bus from the city. The mob met the bus at the terminal, stoned it & slashed the tires, then followed the bus from town. BPA2# 47.
U.S. National Guard troops block off Beale Street as Civil Rights marchers wearing placards reading, 'I AM A MAN' pass by on March 29, 1968. It was the third consecutive march held by the group in as many days. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had left town after the first march, would soon return and be assassinated.
American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists and give the Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. The move was a symbolic protest against racism in the United States. Smith, the gold medal winner, and Carlos, the bronze medal winner, were subsequently suspended from their team for their actions.
Young Emmett Till wears a hat. Chicago native Emmett Till was brutally murdered in Mississippi after flirting with a white woman.
US President Lyndon B. Johnson shakes the hand of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) at the signing of the Civil Rights Act while officials look on, Washington DC. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) lying in state in Memphis, Tennessee, as his colleagues pay their respects to him (right to left); Andrew Young, Bernard Lee and Reverend Ralph Abernathy (1926 - 1990). (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
African-American students at North Carolina A&T College participate in a sit-in at a F. W. Woolworth's lunch counter reserved for white customers in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Nation of Islam National Minister Malcom X addresses a rally on May 14, 1963, in Harlem in support of desegregation in Birmingham, Alabama.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.