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Timeline 1942-1973
The 1940's The 1950's
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The 1960's The 1970's
1950 1959 1960 1958

Virginia supreme court rules on January 19 that school-closing law passed in 1956 violates the state constitution.

Mack Charles Parker, an African-American man accused of raping a white woman, is taken from jail in Poplarville, Mississippi, and lynched by a mob on April 25.

After Virginia legislature repeals its compulsory school attendance laws, Prince Edward County closes it schools on June 26 to avoid desegregation.

"The Hate That Hate Produced," a television documentary on the Nation of Islam, airs July 13ยข17 and brings Malcolm X to wider public attention.

John Howard Griffin, a white writer, undergoes medical treatments in order to darken his skin. He publishes the first accounts of his experiences "passing" as a Negro in Sepia, later collecting them in his best-selling book Black Like Me (1961).

In the bus station lobby, I looked for signs indicating a colored waiting room, but saw none. I walked up to the ticket counter. When the lady ticket-seller saw me, her otherwise attractive face turned sour, violently so. This look was so unexpected and so unprovoked I was taken aback.
"What do you want?" she snapped.
Taking care to pitch my voice to politeness, I asked about the next bus to Hattiesburg.
She answered rudely and glared at me with such loathing I knew I was receiving what the Negroes call "the hate stare." It was my first experience with it. It is far more than the look of disapproval one occasionally gets. This was so exaggeratedly hateful I would have been amused if I had not been so surprised.
I framed the words in my mind: "Pardon me, but have I done something to offend you?" But I realized I had done nothing—my color offended her.
—from John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me