Triumph over Tribulation: A Timeline

In Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 Letter from Birmingham he wrote, “we know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”  Below is a small timeline highlighting some of the big events which show Americans and their triumph over tribulation.

(See the bottom to learn how to have YOUR voice heard this Inauguration Weekend!)

August 1920: 70 years after the rally that launched the Women’s Rights movement onto the national level, the 19th amendment to the constitution is ratified, stating, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

April 1947: Jackie Robinson plays his first game at Ebbets Field with the Brooklyn Dodgers. With this game, Jackie Robinson made history as the first black athlete to play major league baseball. The Dodgers, and Robinson, faced massive amount of backlash. Nonetheless, Robinson was named Rookie of the Year his first year playing and became a World Series Champ in 1955.

May 1954: Brown vs. The Board of Education rules that racial segregation of schools is unconstitutional. The NAACP had been petitioning the courts against segregation for years, in an attempt to get “colored schools” more resources. Finally on May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court overturns the “separate but equal” ruling set forth by Plessy vs. Ferguson.

June 1963: The Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress. The Equal pay act states that people should have equal wages for the same work, regardless of race, gender, color, religion, or national origin. Despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act was signed 54 years ago, there is still a wage gap. Women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn.

August 1963: More than 200,000 people attend the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was here that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The march soon became a pivotal point in the fight for civil rights.

August 1966: Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, in San Francisco, becomes known as the first act of resistance against transgender and cross-dressing individuals.  After months of police brutality and arrests for going against San Francisco’s anti-crossdressing policies, that persecuted women and men alike for openly being who they are.  

January 1973: The Supreme Court rules that the Constitution protects women’s right to terminate a pregnancy, thus making abortion legal in the United States.

October 1979: About 75,000 people participate in the National March on Washington for LGBT Rights. LGBT people and straight allies demand equal civil rights and urge for protective civil right legislatures to be passed.

September 1996: President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act into law. The law defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Last year the Supreme Court struck down parts of it that prohibited them from legalizing marriage equality, but parts of it are still in effect today. 

June 2015: After years of fighting for marriage equality in individual states, The Supreme Court finally legalizes same sex marriage in all 50 states. 

No matter where you stand on the racial, political, or socio-economic scale, it’s important to speak on your beliefs. One voice can change the world, or at least get people thinking.

If you want to watch the exchange of presidential power you can attend the Inauguration on January 20th; if you want to support the fight for women’s equality you can participate in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st. There will also be plenty of creative outlets (such as the DC Youth Slam Team Open Mic on January 21st at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K in Washington, DC.) that you can attend.

Keep in mind that above all else, your safety comes before anything else. If you are harmed, how are you going to change the world? Stay safe #warriornation!