Civil Rights Movement
During the 1950s and ‘60s, African-Americans campaigned for an end to racial discrimination through a series of non-violent protests and marches. The Civil Rights Movement culminated with the passage of federal laws banning discrimination in voting, employment, housing and other sectors of American society.
Secondary Sources on the Civil Rights Movement
Learn about the people and events of the Civil Rights Movement with this compilation of secondary sources.
Top Sites for Secondary Sources on the Civil Rights Movement
PBS’ “Eyes of the Prize” is a 14-hour documentary series produced in the late 1980s that examined the struggle for civil rights. The companion Web site for the series examines 25 significant events with video excerpts. It also includes profiles of people and organizations, accounts of noteworthy milestones, reflective essays from those who lived through the era, and an assortment of primary source material.
Stanford University’s King Institute has an encyclopedia of the Civil Rights Movement, with over 1,000 detailed entries on people, organizations and events.
The Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement gives a year-by-year look at the protests, boycotts, marches, voting campaigns and other events that made up the Civil Rights Movement.
The National Parks Service recounts the Civil Rights Movement through a virtual tour of historic sites, such as Little Rock Central High School, the Selma-to-Montgomery march route, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home.
The Library of Congress summarizes many of the most important events of the Civil Rights era.
The Dirksen Congressional Center provides a detailed timeline of the Civil Rights lawmaking process between 1963 and 1965 with links to primary source material interspersed.
Primary Sources for the Civil Rights Movement
Primary source material allows researchers to gain deeper understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.
Top Sites for Primary Sources for the Civil Rights Movement
The University of Georgia’s Civil Rights Digital Library has brought together primary source collections from universities, government department and other educational organizations. The sources can be browsed by event, person, place or topic.
The National Archives has organized its holdings by subjects such as Civil Rights and the NAACP, the Civil Rights and Voting Acts, and School Desegregation. It also has holdings dedicated to Civil Rights figures such as Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson.
The University of Virginia has streaming video of news reports on Civil Rights topics between 1955 and 1969. It also has a small collection of primary sources and interviews relating to the movement in Virginia.
The University of Maryland’s Thurgood Marshall Law Library is in the process of completing a digital record of the publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, created in 1957.
Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement
Learn about the Civil Rights Movement from the people who lived through it.
Top Sites for an Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement
The Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement features testimony submitted by members of Civil Rights organizations such as CORE, NAACP, SCLC and SNCC, who submit stories about their experiences or write commentary on the movement and current events.
The University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage has more than a hundred interviews of Mississippians who were involved in the movement. Each interview is accompanied by a short biography, and some have audio files and photographs. USM’s Tougaloo College Archives has a smaller collection of interviews.
“Voices of Civil Rights” is a compilation of personal accounts submitted by “ordinary” people who participated or were influenced by the Civil Rights Movement. It is a joint project of the AARP, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and Library of Congress.
The University of North Carolina’s Southern Oral History Program has 279 interviews. Most were conducted in the past decade with North Carolina natives, though it also includes older interviews with key figures, including segregationist Govs. Orval Faubus and George Wallace.