Collection Items

  • Article
    The Murder of Emmett Till The murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 brought nationwide attention to the racial violence and injustice prevalent in Mississippi. While visiting his relatives in Mississippi, Till went to the Bryant store with his cousins, and may have whistled at Carolyn Bryant. Her husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milam, kidnapped and brutally murdered Till, dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River. The newspaper...
    • Date: 1955
  • Film, Video
    Simeon Wright oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Chicago, Illinois, 2011 May 23. Simeon Wright discusses his cousin, Emmett Till, and his attempts to correct the historical record concerning Till's murder. He recalls Till's visit to his home in Mississippi, going to Bryant's store, and the night that Till was kidnapped. He remembers the trial, moving to Chicago, and how the murder and publicity affected his family.
    • Contributor: Wright, Simeon - Mosnier, Joseph - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.)
    • Date: 2011

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  • Film, Video
    Wheeler Parker oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Chicago, Illinois, 2011 May 23. Wheeler Parker, Jr., discusses his visit to Mississippi with his cousin, Emmett Till. He recalls the incident at Bryant's store and the night that Till was kidnapped, and Till's funeral in Chicago. He remembers how the murder and publicity affected his family, the reopening of the case in 2004, and efforts to memorialize Till.
    • Contributor: Parker, Wheeler - Mosnier, Joseph - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.)
    • Date: 2011

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  • Film, Video
    Walter Bruce oral history interview conducted by John Dittmer in Durant, Mississippi, 2013 March 11. Walter Bruce shares memories of his childhood in Durant, Mississippi, where his family sharecropped. As a young man he became a carpenter and also a gospel singer. He describes his early involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, including his participation in Mississippi Freedom Summer. Bruce was involved in community and political organizing throughout the 1960s, from helping to start health clinics and participating in...
    • Contributor: Bruce, Walter - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Dittmer, John
    • Date: 2013

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  • Film, Video
    Simeon Booker and Moses James Newson oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Washington, D.C., 2011 July 13. Simeon Booker and Moses Newson recall their early careers in journalism at several African American newspapers. Newson remembers covering school desegregation cases in Clinton, Tennessee and Hoxie, Arkansas, for the Memphis Tri-State Defender. Booker discusses covering the Emmett Till murder and the integration of Little Rock High School for Jet. They both remember covering the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington.
    • Contributor: Booker, Simeon - Mosnier, Joseph - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Newson, Moses J.
    • Date: 2011

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  • Film, Video
    Dorie Ann Ladner and Joyce Ladner oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Washington, D.C., 2011 September 20. Doris and Joyce Ladner discuss organizing for the March on Washington with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Dorie Ladner recalls her work with SNCC in Natchez, Mississippi, and the murder and trial of Medgar Evers. They both remember growing up in Palmers Crossing, Mississippi, their family history, joining the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) youth chapter led by Clyde...
    • Contributor: Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Ladner, Dorie - Mosnier, Joseph - Ladner, Joyce A.
    • Date: 2011

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  • Film, Video
    Emmett W. Bassett and Priscilla Tietjen Bassett oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Grahamsville, New York, 2011 July 21. Priscilla Tietjen Bassett recalls growing up in Plainfield, New Jersey, and attending Smith College, and Emmett W. Bassett remembers growing up in Henry County, Virginia, serving in World War II, and attending Tuskegee Institute, where he assisted George Washington Carver with research. They tell how they met at a protest of a segregated restaurant in Massachusetts, raising money for Emmett Till's mother, their involvement...
    • Contributor: Bassett, Priscilla - Mosnier, Joseph - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Bassett, Emmett W.
    • Date: 2011

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  • Film, Video
    Raylawni G. Branch and Jeanette Smith oral history interview conducted by Emilye Crosby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 2015 December 01. Raylawni G. Branch and Jeanette Smith discuss their involvement in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi-based Civil Rights Movement. They remember their upbringings as mixed race children, Smith in Mississippi and Branch in Mississippi and Chicago, Illinois. Branch recalls entering as one of the first black students at the University of Southern Mississippi. Both speak about their activism for voting rights and education, as well as sharing...
    • Contributor: Branch, Raylawni G. - Bishop, John Melville - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Smith, Jeanette - Crosby, Emilye
    • Date: 2015
  • Article
    Youth in the Civil Rights Movement At its height in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement drew children, teenagers, and young adults into a maelstrom of meetings, marches, violence, and in some cases, imprisonment. Why did so many young people decide to become activists for social justice? Joyce Ladner answers this question in her interview with the Civil Rights History Project, pointing to the strong support of her elders in...
    • Date: 1960
  • Article
    Articles and Essays Top of page Skip to main content Library of Congress Search Everything Audio Recordings Books/Printed Material Films, Videos Legislation Manuscripts/Mixed Material Maps Notated Music Newspapers Periodicals Personal Narratives Photos, Prints, Drawings Software, E-Resources Web Archives
  • Article
    Music in the Civil Rights Movement African American spirituals, gospel, and folk music all played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement. Singers and musicians collaborated with ethnomusicologists and song collectors to disseminate songs to activists, both at large meetings and through publications. They sang these songs for multiple purposes: to motivate them through long marches, for psychological strength against harassment and brutality, and sometimes to simply pass the...
    • Date: 1958
  • Collection
    Civil Rights History Project On May 12, 2009, the U. S. Congress authorized a national initiative by passing The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-19). The law directed the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to conduct a national survey of existing oral history collections with relevance to the Civil Rights movement to...
    • Contributor: Stewart, Eleanor - McDew, Charles - Hopkins, Evans D. - Magee, Clarence - Simpson, Euvester - Jones, Mary A. - Hicks, Gregory Vincent - Young, Sam - Tillow, Walter M. - Vivian, C. T. ... Stewart, Eleanor - McDew, Charles - Hopkins, Evans D. - Magee, Clarence - Simpson, Euvester - Jones, Mary A. - Hicks, Gregory Vincent - Young, Sam - Tillow, Walter M. - Vivian, C. T. - Mahone, Sam - Parker, Wheeler - Hill, Oliver W. - Anderson, Fletcher - Tillow, Kay - Dove, Samuel - Henderson, Juadine - Carlos, John - Adams-Johnson, Frankye - Funchess, Glenda - Derby, Doris Adelaide - Hicks, Robert Lawrence - Crosby, Emilye - Williams, Junius W. - Mulholland, Joan Trumpauer - Hrabowski, Freeman A. - Jenkins, Timothy Lionel - Jarmon, Charles - Tuttle, Rick - Library of Congress - McCarty, Michael D. - Montes, Carlos - Archive of Folk Culture (Library of Congress) - Grinnell, Gloria Claudette - Moldovan, Alfred - Arellanes, Gloria - Ackerman, Satoko Ito - Gaither, Thomas Walter - Browner, Clifford - Suggs, Harold - Abernathy, Donzaleigh - Miller, Carolyn - Zellner, Dorothy - Burras, Carol Cummings - Sobol, Richard B. - Abernathy, Ralph David - Walker, Wyatt Tee - Dahmer, Ellie J. - Holloway, Eddie A. - Zapata, Luis - McLaurin, Charles - Howell, Embry - Anderson, William G. - Saunders, William - Carter, Robert L. - Varela, Maria - Walter, Mildred Pitts - Simmons, Gwendolyn Zoharah - Hildreth, Marilyn Luper - Richardson, Gloria - Crosby, Patricia A. - Bailey, D'army - Suggs, Frances L. - Cox, Courtland - Ackerman, David M. - Greene, Freddie - Anderson, Cynthia Baker - Smith, Jeanette - Leventhal, Willy S. (Willy Siegel) - Dahmer, Vernon - Bassett, Emmett W. - Lucy, William - Hicks, Charles Ray - Young, Carrie Lamar - Dittmer, John - Carawan, Guy - Caldwell, Ben R. - Robinson, Reginald - McCullar, Johnnie Ruth - McKinney, Samuel Berry - Jones, James Oscar - Jones, Clarence B. - Newson, Moses J. - Sales, Ruby - Greenberg, Jack - Lowery, Joseph E. - Hamilton, Audrey Nell - Bennett, Geraldine Crawford - Ulmer, Joeann Anderson - Guyot, Lawrence - Head, Rosie M. - Alexander, Roberta - Glascoe, Myrtle Gonza - Duncan, Gwendolyn Annette - Cotton, Dorothy F. - Huggins, Ericka - Dixon, Elmer - Churchville, John Elliott - Cline, David P. - Siler, Charles E. - Brown, Amos C. (Amos Cleophilus) - Sherrod, Charles - Todd, Lisa Anderson - Broadway, Louise W. - George, Virginia Simms - Luper, Calvin - Holloway, Lucius - Branch, Raylawni G. - Crosby, David L. - Cleaver, Kathleen - Hutchings, Phil - Marshall, Cecilia - Burns, Julia Matilda - Brown, Robert J. - Griffin, Willie James - Finney, Ernest A., (Ernest Adolphus) - Noonan, Martha P. - Roxborough, Mildred Bond - Dudley, John F. - King, Lonnie C. - Perry, Matthew J. (Matthew James) - Jenkins, Willie Elliot - Jackson, Gertrude Newsome - Reece, Dwandalyn R. - McNichols, Steven - Hayling, Robert Bagner - Bassett, Priscilla - Russell, Bill - Seeger, Pete - Thelwell, Michael - Patton, Gwendolyn M. - Lawrence, William M. - Howell, Joseph T. - McClary, Robert - Fuller, Linda - Walker, Theresa Ann - Hicks, Darryl Robertson - Ladner, Dorie - Bates, Scott - Bruce, Walter - Blake, Harry - Bond, Julian - Miller, Grace H. - Long, Worth W. - Carawan, Candie - Conway, Purcell Maurice - Mtume, Norma - Paysour, Lafleur - National Museum of African American History and Culture (U.S.) - Williams, Cecil J. - Diamond, Dion T. - Mosnier, Joseph - Robinson, Betty Garman - Lawson, Jennifer - Guster, Leesco - Moore, E. Maynard - Ladner, Joyce A. - Miller, James E. - Branch, Taylor - Terry, Esther M. A. - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Jeffries, Hasan Kwame - Sellers, Cleveland - Hicks, Valeria Payton - Rosenberg, Jean Voelker - Strickland, William - Jenkins, Mary F. - Becton, Julius W. (Julius Wesley) - Richardson, Judy - Connor, Peggy Jean - Rosenberg, John M. - Sobol, Anne Buxton - Wright, Simeon - Collins, Barbara Maria - Sherrod, Shirley - Booker, Simeon - Southern Oral History Program - Sullivan, Patricia - Howard, Elbert - Bishop, John Melville - Taylor, Kieran Walsh - American Folklife Center - Jones, Jamila - Geiger, Jack - Jones, Nathaniel Hawthorne - Vickers, Barbara Edna - Breaux, Toni - Camarillo, Mateo - Clark, Robert George - Brown, Harold K. - Avery, Annie Pearl - Holloway, Emma Kate - Abernathy, Juandalynn R. - Dixon, Aaron
    • Date: 2010

    Collection Items: View 157 Items

  • Article
    Collecting and Presenting the Freedom Struggle at the Library of Congress What makes a mass social movement? How is it defined? What happened as part of the movement and why? What are its obvious features and its hidden aspects? Who are the actors, both famous and obscure? These are among the prominent questions to keep in mind when we seek to understand the historical origins, changing meanings, and the current resonance of social and cultural...
    • Date: 1954
  • Article
    Nonviolent Philosophy and Self Defense The success of the movement for African American civil rights across the South in the 1960s has largely been credited to activists who adopted the strategy of nonviolent protest. Leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Jim Lawson, and John Lewis believed wholeheartedly in this philosophy as a way of life, and studied how it had been used successfully by Mahatma Gandhi to protest...
    • Date: 1954
  • Article
    School Segregation and Integration The massive effort to desegregate public schools across the United States was a major goal of the Civil Rights Movement. Since the 1930s, lawyers from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had strategized to bring local lawsuits to court, arguing that separate was not equal and that every child, regardless of race, deserved a first-class education. These lawsuits were combined...
    • Date: 1951
  • Article
    The March on Washington For many Americans, the calls for racial equality and a more just society emanating from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, deeply affected their views of racial segregation and intolerance in the nation.  Since the occasion of March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 50 years ago, much has been written and discussed about the moment, its impact on society,...
    • Date: 1963
  • Article
    Voting Rights When Reconstruction ended in 1877, states across the South implemented new laws to restrict the voting rights of African Americans. These included onerous requirements of owning property, paying poll taxes, and passing literacy or civics exams. Many African Americans who attempted to vote were also threatened physically or feared losing their jobs. One of the major goals of the Civil Rights Movement was to...
    • Date: 1877
  • Article
    Women in the Civil Rights Movement Many women played important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, from leading local civil rights organizations to serving as lawyers on school segregation lawsuits. Their efforts to lead the movement were often overshadowed by men, who still get more attention and credit for its successes in popular historical narratives and commemorations. Many women experienced gender discrimination and sexual harassment within the movement and later...
    • Date: 1954
  • Film, Video
    Julia Matilda Burns oral history interview conducted by John Dittmer in Tchula, Mississippi, 2013 March 13. Julia Matilda Burns describes her experience in segregated schools in Humphreys County, Mississippi, where she grew up. After becoming a teacher at Marshall High School in Belzoni, Mississippi, she began to take notice of the Civil Rights Movement, but her involvement was limited because she did not want to lose her job. Burns describes protests by whites against school desegregation in Tchula, Mississippi, and...
    • Contributor: Burns, Julia Matilda - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Dittmer, John
    • Date: 2013

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  • Film, Video
    Cleveland Sellers oral history interview conducted by John Dittmer in Denmark, South Carolina, 2013 March 21. Cleveland Sellers shares memories of growing up in Denmark, South Carolina, especially the influence of Voorhees College in the community. He organized a Youth Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Denmark, and he describes the group's activities. He discusses his first impressions of Howard University, where he joined the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). He shares memories of...
    • Contributor: Sellers, Cleveland - Dittmer, John - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.)
    • Date: 2013

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  • Film, Video
    Rosie Head oral history interview conducted by John Dittmer in Tchula, Mississippi, 2013 March 13. Rosie Head describes her early life in Greenwood, Mississippi, where her family lived and worked on a plantation. She discusses how her parents faced racial discrimination in their work and how they were cheated by the plantation owner and then blacklisted. In 1964, Head joined the Civil Rights Movement in Tchula, Mississippi, where her family had relocated. Head recounts the various ways she was...
    • Contributor: Dittmer, John - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Head, Rosie M.
    • Date: 2013

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  • Film, Video
    Mildred Bond Roxborough oral history interview conducted by Julian Bond in New York, New York, 2010 October 29. Roxborough discusses how she became active in the Civil Rights Movement at the age of nine, when she sold subscriptions to the NAACP The Crisis magazine. Roxborough began working with the NAACP as a fieldworker and worked in a variety of administrative positions including as director of development.
    • Contributor: Bond, Julian - Roxborough, Mildred Bond - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.)
    • Date: 2010

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  • Film, Video
    Annie Pearl Avery oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Selma, Alabama, 2011 May 31. Annie Pearl Avery remembers her childhood in Birmingham, Alabama, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at age sixteen. She recalls attending a SNCC meeting in Atlanta and being stranded and threatened in Marietta, Georgia, on the way home. She discusses her involvement in the Albany Movement, her many arrests for protesting, marching with William Moore, and participating in voter...
    • Contributor: Avery, Annie Pearl - Mosnier, Joseph - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.)
    • Date: 2011

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  • Film, Video
    Amos C. Brown oral history interview conducted by David P. Cline in San Francisco, California, 2013 March 02. Reverend Dr. Amos Brown discusses his childhood in Jackson, Mississippi and meeting Medgar Evers, who quickly became his mentor. Brown was a leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a teenager, leading the Jackson chapter and then the whole state Youth Council and traveling with Mr. Evers across the country to attend a national conference. He was asked...
    • Contributor: Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Brown, Amos C. (Amos Cleophilus) - Cline, David P.
    • Date: 2013

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  • Film, Video
    Martha Prescod Norman Noonan oral history interview conducted by John Dittmer in Cockeysville, Maryland, 2013 March 18. Martha Prescod Norman Noonan describes her childhood in Providence, Rhode Island, and being one of the few black families in the neighborhood. Her parents urged her to attend the University of Michigan, where she joined Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and learned about the Civil Rights Movement in the South. She eventually made her way to Albany, Georgia, where she worked with the...
    • Contributor: Noonan, Martha P. - Civil Rights History Project (U.S.) - Dittmer, John
    • Date: 2013

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