Selma, Alabama was the center of the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. and 700 others were arrested during demonstrations against state regulations on voting. On the social front, miniskirts first made their appearance and health warnings were placed on packs of cigarettes. President Johnson signed into effect the Voting Rights Act, which ensured equality for all at the voting booth, by eliminating literacy tests and other barriers. He also signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which initiated Title 1, which ensured remedial education for students in need, and the Head Start Program which began in May.
In December of 1965, John and Mary Beth Tinker, and Christopher Eckhardt were members of a community group against the American involvement in the Vietnam War. John, fifteen years old, and Christopher, sixteen years old, were high school students in Des Moines, Iowa. Mary Beth, John’s sister was a thirteen year old junior high student. To demonstrate their objections and to promote their support for a holiday truce, they decided to wear black armbands from December 16 to New Year’s Day (Cornell University Law School). The school authorities in Des Moines discovered in advance the plan of the students to wear the armbands, and issued a policy on December 14 stating that any student wearing armbands would be sent home and suspended until they could return to school without them. Their fear was that the armbands would create a disturbance to the school environment, especially considering that a school graduate had been killed in the Vietnam War.
Two days following the issuance of the new school policy, the above-mentioned students wore the black arm bands. The students were aware in advance of the new policy. After school officials requested that they remove the armbands, they refused. The students were then sent home suspended from school, and returned