Expanding Horizons

1970
Women
In Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co., a US Court of Appeals ruled that jobs held by men and women need to be "substantially equal" but not "identical" to fall under the protection of the Equal Pay Act.

1970s
African American
Attempts to integrate schools by busing children to schools across neighborhood boundaries met with resistance in northern cities such as Boston.

1971
African American
The US Supreme Court ruled in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education that busing could be used to desegregate schools.

1972
Women
Title IX of the Education Amendments banned sex discrimination in schools. As a result of Title IX, the enrollment of women in athletics programs and professional schools increased dramatically.

1975
Disabled
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (renamed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990) became law. The act declared handicapped children could not be excluded from public school because of their disability and that school districts were required to provide special services to meet the needs of disabled children.

1978
Everyone
In Regents of the University of California V. Bakke the US Supreme Court ruled that race may be considered as a factor in university admission decisions; however, such "affirmative action" programs could not use quotas.

1981
Women
Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female US Supreme Court Justice.

1982
LGBT
Wisconsin became the first US state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

1986
Everyone
In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the US Supreme Court ruled that sexual harassment is a form of illegal job discrimination.

1988
Everyone
In City of Richmond v. J.A. Crosson Company the US Supreme Court ruled that setting aside a portion of public contracts for minority contractors is unconstitutional.

1989
Everyone
In Words Cove Packing Company v. Antono the US Supreme Court ruled that an employer accused of discrimination against minority employees could defend itself on the grounds of promoting a business, without having to prove that a legitimate business interest was involved.

1989
African American
Douglas L. Wilder became governor of Virginia – the first African American elected chief executive of a state.

1990
Disabled
The Americans with Disabilities Act became law, providing comprehensive civil rights protection for people with disabilities and requiring public accommodations and commercial facilities to make "reasonable modifications" to ensure access for the disabled.

1990
Everyone
In Board of Education of Oklahoma v. Dowell the U.S. Supreme Court declared a school district may be freed from court supervision once it eliminated the vestiges of segregation "to the extent practicable."

1992
Everyone
In Freeman v. Pitts the US Supreme Court ruled school districts can be freed from court supervision before full compliance with desegregation had been achieved. Only a "good faith commitment" to desegregation was required.

1992
Everyone
Congress designated the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, as the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

1993
LGBT
The Department of Defense issued a directive prohibiting the US Military from barring applicants from service based on their sexual orientation. This policy was known as "don't ask, don't tell."

1995
Everyone
In Missouri v. Jenkins the US Supreme Court ordered the Kansas City, Missouri, School District to create a system of "magnet schools" to attract white suburban students to inner city schools.

1995
Everyone
The US Supreme Court ruled that three new black-majority voting districts in Georgia, North Carolina, and Louisiana were unconstitutional, as they violated the equal protection of white voters.

1996
LGBT
President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law. The law defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman and declared that no state was required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.

1996
Women
In United States v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court ruled that the all-male Virginia Military Institute had to admit women in order to continue to receive public funding.

2000
LGBT
Vermont became the first state in the US to legalize civil unions and registered partnerships between same-sex couples.

2001
Arab American
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Arab Americans and others of Middle Eastern descent experienced backlash, as hate crimes, harassment and police profiling sharply increased.

2001
African American
General Colin Powell was appointed Secretary of State and Condoleezza Rice was appointed National Security Adviser, the first African Americans to hold the posts.

2002
Disabled
In Atkins v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court ruled that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

2002
Disabled
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) became law, requiring voting "systems" to be accessible to the disabled, including special assistance for blind or visually impaired voters.

2004
LGBT
Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. Many states soon followed.

2006
Disabled
In United States v. Georgia, the US Supreme Court declared that the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act extends to persons held in a state prison and protects prison inmates from discrimination on the basis of disability.

2009
African American
Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American president of the United States.

2009
LGBT
Inspired by two brutal murders, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act became law, expanding the definition of federal hate crime to include violent crimes in which the victim is selected due to their actual or perceived disability.

2010
LGBT
US Congress votes to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" policy, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. Military.

2013
Everyone
In Shelby County v. Holder the US Supreme Court strikes down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act citing the out-of-date statistics and formulas used when determining which locations in the US must be granted permission before making changes to voting laws.

2013
LGBT
In United States v. Windsor, a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act is ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court for denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

2013
LGBT
California's Proposition 8 was dismissed on procedural grounds in Hollingsworth v. Perry and same-sex marriages are allowed to resume in the state. The US Supreme Court did not rule on the issue of same-sex marriage.

2013
Everyone
The US Supreme Court strikes down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act citing the out-of-date statistics and formulas used when determining which locations in the US must be granted permission before making changes to voting laws in Shelby County v. Holder.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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