The Philadelphia Plan, the first federal affirmative action program, begins under the aegis of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCC) in the Department of Labor. By September 1967, the Department of Labor informs all federal agencies that they must abide by the Philadelphia Plan, causing hostility among labor unions as well as contractors.

On the 21st, Malcolm X is assassinated.

On "Bloody Sunday," March 7th, six hundred demonstrators gather at the Edmund Pettus Bridge to begin a four day march from Selma to Montgomery to petition Governor Wallace for black voting rights. After the protesters cross the Pettus bridge, Alabama state troopers are unleashed on them, leading to one of the most violent episodes of the civil rights struggles. Sympathy marches occur across the country over the next few days. On the 15th, President Johnson sends a voting rights bill to Congress.

On the 6th, President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

On the 11th, riots break out in Watts, California.

Congress passes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1861 et. seq., giving the federal government the ability to enforce compliance with court desegregation orders by threatening to withhold federal funding. This threat proves vital to producing genuine desegregation in the South.