The Boston Globe published an excellent article yesterday about the Freedom Riders of 1961, as well as the Kennedy brothers' attempt at helping to achieve racial equality.
Although some progress had been made against racism in the 1950's (Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954 was one example, and the 1955 Montgomery bus strike was another), it wasn't until the 1960's that genuine progress was made.
The lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro in 1960 forced Woolworths to integrate their lunch counters nationwide.
James Meredith was the first black person admitted to the University of Mississippi in 1962.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and employment discrimination. The act "remains one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history.
Prior to the 1964Act, Negro travelers in the South had to rely on the Green Book (published from 1936 to 1967) to find safe places to have a meal or stay overnight.
The 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Interracial marriage was made legal nationwide in 1967.
The assassination of Martin Luther King triggered riots across the country, and led directly to the Civil Rights Act of 1968, exactly one week after he was killed.
The struggle for racial equality is a never-ending story - and progress is always painfully slow.
If took 100 years before an American president would visit Tulsa to commemorate the race riots of 1921, and legislatures across the country are currently passing racist voting laws to prevent minorities from voting, in violation of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
If we're luck, the For the People Act will reverse some of the damage, but it is going to be a struggle to get it passed by the Senate.