Black History Month: These powerful photos show social movements throughout the years

A passenger points to one of the segregation signs removed from all Dallas Transit Company buses, following a Supreme Court ruling banning segregation on all public transportation within a state, on April 25, 1956. (Bettmann, Getty Images)

Black History Month is held every year to celebrate the achievements by African-Americans. It’s also a time for recognizing the central role of Black people in U.S. history.

The road hasn’t always been easy. If you flip through these photos, below, you’ll see many different chapters from American history.

Still, it’s important to learn about our past in order to grow. Some pictures are from as recently as 2020, following the death of George Floyd.

The following shots, by the way, are not in chronological order.

Police officers in riot gear approach demonstrators Sept. 21, 2016 in downtown Charlotte, N.C. Protests in Charlotte began in response to the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Getty Images)
A man holds a Black Lives Matter sign as a police car burns during a protest on May 29, 2020 in Atlanta. Demonstrations were held across the U.S. after George Floyd died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Getty Images)
African-American protesters, arrested during segregation demonstrations, are held in a fenced yard in Birmingham, Alabama, May 9, 1963. (Getty Images)
An illustration depicting freed men voting in New Orleans, after being herded to the polls. The shot, dated 1867, is from a series of pictures on the operations of the registration laws and Black suffrage in the South. (Getty Images)
Civil rights activist Julius Hobson Sr. poses in front of a Black Pride mural alongside Upper 14th Street NW, a street badly burned and looted in the 1968 riots. Three years later, Hobson would be the first delegate from D.C. elected to Congress. (CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jamaican-American singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte addresses a large crowd at a Civil Rights rally on West 38th Street in New York City, May 17, 1960. (Getty Images)
Crowds following Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral procession walk down West Hunter Street in Atlanta on April 9, 1968. (Corbis via Getty Images)
In an aerial view from a drone, a large-scale ground mural depicting Breonna Taylor with the text "Black Lives Matter" is seen being painted at Chambers Park on July 5, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. The mural was organized by Future History Now, in partnership with Banneker-Douglass Museum and The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. The painting honors Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department in March 2020. (Getty Images)
American writer, abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895), circa 1855. (Getty Images)
July 22, 1968: Black Panthers march to a news conference in New York to protest at the trial of one of their members, Huey P. Newton. (Getty Images)
A view of two young boys as they eat during a free breakfast for children program sponsored by the Black Panther party, New York, New York, winter 1969. (Getty Images)
In this 1936 photo, a flag hangs outside the headquarters of the NAACP at 69 Fifth Ave., New York City, bearing the words "A Man was Lynched Yesterday." (Getty Images)
On Aug. 28, 1963, a young marcher is shown during the March for Jobs and Freedom to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. This is where Martin Luther King made his famous "I have a dream" speech. (Getty Images)
A woman with "BLM" written on her cheek poses for a picture during a demonstration on May 31, 2020 in Atlanta. Across the country, protests have erupted following the recent death of George Floyd while in police custody. (Getty Images)
American journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), 1920. (Getty Images)
On Dec. 7, 1953, crowds lined up in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. to hear second-round arguments challenging the constitutionality of segregation in public schools. Cases from four states and the District of Columbia were being considered. With only 50 seats available, not all got in to hear African-American attorneys urge the Supreme Court to end racial segregation in public schools. Leading an array of legal talent prepared to defend segregation was John W. Davis, one-time Democratic candidate for president and an expert on constitutional law. (Getty Images)
An elevated view of demonstrators, many of whom carried signs, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in Washington D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. Among the visible signs were ones that read "We Demand Decent Housing Now," "We Demand Equal Rights Now," "We March for Integrated Schools," "We Demand an End to Bias Now," and "We Demand an FEPC Law Now" (FEPC refers to the Fair Employment Practice Committee). (Library of Congress/Getty Images)
Civil rights marchers arrive at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after a 50-mile march from Selma to protest race discrimination in voter registration, on March 23, 1965. (Getty Images)
African-American students attending Little Rock Central High School are escorted to a waiting Army station wagon for their return home after classes, Oct. 3, 1957. Their guard was heavier than usual because of a "walk-out" demonstration by about 50 segregationist students. One of the Black students was burned in effigy on the campus in an atmosphere of general tension. (Getty Images)
Civil rights marchers gather at Brown's Chapel in Selma, Alabama to begin the 50-mile march to Montgomery to protest race discrimination in voter registration, on March 21, 1965. (Getty Images)
Voter registration in Harlem, New York City, in March 1984. (Jacques M. Chenet/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Freed African-Americans in a southern town after the U.S. Civil War, circa 1870. (Getty Images)
Civil rights demonstrators ran from the Atlantic surf at a St. Augustine beach, when a group of about 50 people began attacking with their fists. The violence occurred when integrationists made a second attempt to use the typically white beach. (Getty Images)
From the Library of Congress: A poster printed by the U.S. Work Projects Administration War Services, encouraging citizens to read and learn about African-American history, culture and contributions in the Schomburg Collection at the New York Public Library, circa 1942. (CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Supporters of U.S. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. rally to protest his having been stripped of the chairmanship of the Education and Labor Committee, in January 1967. They hold aloft a copy of the Washington Post, with a handwriting on it that reads "We Want Powell Back In His Chair." (Getty Images)
American actress Esther Rolle, shown in the foreground of this photo, sings and claps during the Equal Rights Amendment March in Washington D.C., July 9, 1978. Among those visible in the background is NOW (National Organization for Women) President Eleanor Smeal (second left, leaning forward). Like many other supporters, they wear white in homage to the suffragists who had marched in Washington 65 years earlier. (Getty Images)
A group of freed slaves who worked as laborers and servants with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, in 1862. (CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
In this Aug. 25, 1963 photo from Washington, D.C., Mrs. Medgar Evers, widow of the slain integrationist leader, is shown addressing an NAACP Freedom Rally at Howard University. At far left is Mrs. Evers' son, Darrell. (Getty Images)
Black Panther party co-founder Huey P. Newton reclines on the grass as he answers questions from a Liberation News Service reporter on the campus of Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut in April 1970. (Getty Images)
The view of a line of Black Panther party members as they demonstrate, arms folded, outside the New York County Criminal Court on April 11, 1969. The demonstration was about the "Panther 21" trial, over jailed Black Panther members accused of shooting at police stations and a bombing; all of whom were eventually acquitted. (Getty Images)
Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their game at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Getty Images)
A "Right On!" button, featuring an illustration of a clenched Black fist to symbolize the Black Power movement, is shown from the early 1970s. (Getty Images)
On April 1, 1965, two Alabama state troopers stand over the road from the wreck of the car belonging to the slain Detroit housewife, Viola Liuzzo, who was killed by a group of Ku Klux Klansmen after having taken part in a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. (Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Radical political activist Angela Davis speaks at a street rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 4, 1974. (Getty Images)
A passenger points to one of the segregation signs removed from all Dallas Transit Company buses, following a Supreme Court ruling banning segregation on all public transportation within a state, on April 25, 1956. (Getty Images)
In this Aug. 22, 1963 photo, three patrolmen were injured and nine people were taken into custody after a melee between police and Civil Rights demonstrators on the steps of City Hall in New York City. (Getty Images)
U.S. National Guard troops block off Beale Street as Civil Rights marchers wearing placards reading, "I AM A MAN" pass by on March 29, 1968. It was the third consecutive march held by the group in as many days. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had left town after the first march, would soon return and be assassinated. (Getty Images)
In Birmingham, Alabama, on Sept. 18, 1963, family members comfort a younger relative as they lead her down the steps of the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church at the funeral services for the four girls killed in the white supremacist terrorist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. (Getty Images)
African-American students attempt to get served at a lunch counter reserved for white customers in Portsmouth, Virginia, Feb. 16, 1960. (Getty Images)
Here are two men sleeping in the pastor's car park during a siege of the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. This took place by a white mob of about 3,000 in late May 1961. The previous day, Freedom Riders had been met with violence on their arrival at the Greyhound Bus Station in the city. Many later took refuge in the church, which was besieged until the early hours when National Guard vehicles were used to evacuate the building. (Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Birmingham, Alabama: Rev. Ralph Abernathy, at left, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are greeted with microphones as they emerge from the Jefferson County jail wearing a four-day growth of beard. A Nobel Prize winner, King, suffering from a cold, said he felt fine after being released. King, Abernathy and two aides served a four-day jail term after the Supreme Court upheld their conviction for contempt of a court injunction against the civil rights demonstrations. An aide to Dr. King disclosed late Nov. 3 that the civil rights leader was planning a visit to the Soviet Union. (Getty Images)
A boy at the drinking fountain on the county courthouse lawn in Halifax, North Carolina in April 1938. (John Vachon/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
At a rally in support of the Black Panther party, two young men hold a poster of Panther leader Bobby Seale under the heading "Kidnapped," on May 1, 1970. The poster refers to the trial of the New Haven Nine, of which Seale was one, which had just begun. (Getty Images)
African-American students who had previously been banned from Little Rock Central High School were provided with portal-to-portal protection to enter the school in September 1957 during the desegregation of Arkansas public schools. (Getty Images)
A Black woman is directed away from the "white waiting room" at Jackson, Mississippi, on May 25, 1961. She arrived on the Freedom Bus to protest against the racial segregation of passengers on the nation's buses. (Daily/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Demonstrators and marchers carry American flags on the Selma to Montgomery March held in support of voter rights, in Alabama in late March of 1965. (Getty Images)
Joshua Broussard kneels in front of a memorial and mural that honors George Floyd at the Scott Food Mart corner store in Houston's Third Ward, where Floyd grew up, on June 8, 2020 in Houston. Floyd died May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody, sparking nationwide protests. (Getty Images)
American civil rights campaigner, and widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King stands behind a podium covered in microphones at the Peace-In-Vietnam Rally, in Central Park, New York, April 27, 1968. (Getty Images)
On April 29, 1992, protests broke out against a not-guilty verdict against LAPD officers in the beating of Rodney King. This is a scan from a negative of helmeted LAPD officers trotting past a burning police unit during the Rodney King riots on a Los Angeles Street downtown. (Corbis via Getty Images)
Protests -- against a not-guilty verdict against LAPD officers in the beating of Rodney King -- transform into civil unrest. (Corbis via Getty Images)
Civic leader Jesse Jackson attends a rally against Chief of the LAPD, Daryl Gates, following the beating of Rodney King by police officers in Los Angeles. (Sygma via Getty Images)
A protester attending a march against poverty holds a picket sign calling for justice for the Rodney King beatings. (Sygma via Getty Images)

This story was first published in 2021. It has since been updated.