The Civil Rights Movement: Key Leaders and their Actions

Learn about the influential figures who shaped the Civil Rights Movement. Discover the people who campaigned for social justice and equality, from Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King Jr.

LeaderActions
Martin Luther King Jr.Led Montgomery Bus Boycott, delivered “I Have a Dream” speech
Rosa ParksRefused to give up her bus seat, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Malcolm XProminent civil rights activist and advocate for Black nationalism
Thurgood MarshallFirst African American Supreme Court Justice
Medgar EversCivil rights activist assassinated in Mississippi
Fannie Lou HamerVoting rights activist and co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
Ella BakerOrganized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
James FarmerCo-founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
John LewisProminent civil rights leader and member of the Freedom Riders
Diane NashKey organizer of the Freedom Riders
A. Philip RandolphLed the March on Washington movement
Whitney Young Jr.Advocate for equal opportunity in employment
Bayard RustinOrganized the March on Washington and advised MLK Jr.
Ralph AbernathyCo-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with MLK Jr.
Septima ClarkPioneering educator and activist in citizenship schools
Dorothy HeightLeader in women’s rights and equality
James BevelStrategist and organizer of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade
Fred ShuttlesworthCivil rights activist in Birmingham, Alabama
Andrew YoungAdvisor to MLK Jr. and later Mayor of Atlanta
Cesar ChavezAdvocate for farm workers’ rights
Ella BakerInfluential civil rights activist and organizer
Julian BondCo-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
Stokely CarmichaelLeader of SNCC and proponent of Black Power
Roy WilkinsExecutive Director of the NAACP
Daisy BatesMentor and advisor to the Little Rock Nine
James MeredithFirst African American student at the University of Mississippi
Robert MosesKey leader in voter registration efforts
Bob MosesOrganizer of the Freedom Summer project
Septima ClarkEducator and civil rights activist
Dorothy HeightChampioned women’s rights and racial equality
Martin Luther King Sr.Civil rights leader and father of MLK Jr.
Ella BakerAdvocate for grassroots activism and community organizing
Joseph LoweryCo-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Diane NashLeader in the Nashville sit-in movement
Jim LawsonAdvocate for nonviolent resistance and strategist
Jo Ann RobinsonOrganizer of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Bayard RustinOrganizer of the March on Washington and key advisor to MLK Jr.
Myrlie EversCivil rights activist and wife of Medgar Evers
Ella BakerLeader in the fight for voting rights and grassroots organizing
James FormanActivist and organizer in the Black Panther Party
Gloria RichardsonLeader in the Cambridge Movement in Maryland
Diane NashKey strategist and organizer of the Freedom Rides
Dorothy CottonLeader in voter registration efforts and citizenship education
Claudette ColvinAfrican American teenager who refused to give up her bus seat before Rosa Parks
Josephine BakerAmerican-born French entertainer and civil rights activist

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