Close this search box.

5 Little-Known Facts About the Civil Rights Movement

Spanning almost 20 years, the Civil Rights Movement pivoted a change in the unusual societal system of America, abolishing the discrimination and slavery of people of color. Beyond the widespread narrative lies a rich collection of unknown facts that influenced the quest for freedom. Here are five lesser-known facts about the Civil Rights Movement.

The Washington March (Almost) Failed 

On August 23, 1963, over 250,000 Americans participated in a peaceful March near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This idea was conceived by Phillip Randolph in 1914, and the march served as a protest against African Americans’ racial and job discrimination. However, something tried to happen backstage. 

Courtesy: NPR

As Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, there were plans to sabotage it – both internally and externally. John Lewis, one of the saboteurs, planned on delivering a radical speech to provoke black people. However, he ditched it due to a lack of support, while plans to overrun MLK’s PA system also failed. 

Did You Know Who Started The Boycott?

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was yet another campaign against the racial segregation of black people on public transport systems. The boycott’s initial aim was against the illegal arrest of Claudette Colvin and to seek justice for Recy Taylor, but then other reasons followed suit.  

Courtesy: Fox News

Colvin was a 15-year-old arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a white man, while Taylor was a black woman who six white men raped. Although Recy never received justice, the movement changed the trajectory of racial equality. 

What Role Did The Republicans Play?

In the 1960s, the American Congress was divided to vote for or against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Contrary to public belief, the Republicans overwhelmingly voted for the bill. Although 80% of Republicans were in support, compared to 60% of Democrats, the Democrats pulled a surprise. 

Courtesy: The New Yoker

The Democrats played a major role in ensuring the bill passed through the House, Senate, and eventually to the Democratic president. This combined efforts of both party members led to the establishment of the Act on July 3, 1964.

The Two Pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement Only Met Once

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are two pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement that helped abolish racism. Malcolm X is known for his by-any-means-necessary tactics, while King prefers non-violent alterations. 

Courtesy: Vox

Malcolm and King met once on the 26th of March, 1964, at the Senate debate of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Photographed at the Capitol Hall, Malcom and King shared some pleasantries before parting ways. 

An Unknown Fact about MLK’s Speech

The “I Have a Dream” speech was the American dream of Martin Luther King that called out the racial imbalance between white and black Americans. It is recorded as one of the most memorable speeches in the world today, but here’s something you don’t know. 


The speech was not planned but was rather improvised. During a gathering in 1963, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson yelled to King to tell the crowd about the Black dream. This prompted him to make a heartfelt speech. 

Sign up for Best History Class Newsletter

Related Posts