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Civil Rights Resource Guide

Mrs. Nettie Hunt, sitting on steps of Supreme Court, holding newspaper, explaining to her daughter Nikie the meaning of the Supreme Court's decision banning school segregation
Mrs. Nettie Hunt, sitting on steps of Supreme Court, holding newspaper, explaining to her daughter Nikie the meaning of the Supreme Court's decision banning school segregation.
1 photographic print.
New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. 1954.
Prints and Photographs Division
Reproduction Number:

Related Resources

American Folklife

Civil Rights History Project

“The collection consists over 100 full­-length, video recordings of activists who participated in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality during the modern civil rights movement of the late twentieth century. The recordings cover a wide variety of topics pertaining to the movement, such as the influence of the labor movement, nonviolence and self-defense, religious faith, music, and the experiences of young activists. Actions and events discussed in the interviews include the Albany Movement (1961), the Freedom Rides (1961), the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963), Freedom Summer (1964), the Selma to Montgomery Rights March (1965), and the formation of the Black Panther Party, among others. More interviews will become available in 2018.”

America's Library

America's Library is especially designed for elementary and middle school students. This site contains a wide variety of information related to civil rights.

Join America at Play

Jackie Robinson Breaks the Color Barrier

Jump Back in Time

Activist Mary Church Terrell Was Born, September 23, 1863

Gospel Singer, Mahalia Jackson Was Born, October 26, 1911

Pete Seeger Is Born, May 3, 1919

Novelist, Essayist, and Playwright James Baldwin Was Born, August 2, 1924

Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. Was Born, January 15, 1929

Rosa Parks Was Arrested for Civil Disobedience, December 1, 1955

The First March From Selma, March 7, 1965

American Diplomat Ralph Bunche Died, December 9, 1971

Meet Amazing Americans

W.E.B. Du Bois

Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Little Rock Crisis

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thurgood Marshall


African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship

This exhibition showcases the African American collections of the Library of Congress. It displays more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. It includes a section on the Civil Rights era.

The African-American Mosaic: African-American Culture and History

The guide includes a section on the Great Migration which made northerners more aware of disenfranchisement in the Deep South.

American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Civil Rights

View the multi-media Civil Rights exhibit from the Reason gallery, American Treasures of The Library of Congress.

American Treasures of the Library of Congress - A Letter from Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson describes his debut into baseball , which broke the color barrier that had existed since 1876.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom

This exhibition, which commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, explores the events that shaped the civil rights movement, as well as the far-reaching impact the act had on a changing society.

The NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom

The NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom exhibition presents a retrospective of the major personalities, events, and achievements that shaped the NAACP’s history during its first 100 years.

Voices of Civil Rights

This exhibition draws from the thousands of personal stories, oral histories, and photographs collected by the "Voices of Civil Rights" project, a collaborative effort of AARP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), and the Library of Congress.

"With an Even Hand": Brown v. Board at Fifty

This exhibition commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board judicial case.

Manuscript Division

Library of Congress Manuscripts: An Illustrated Guide - African-American History and Culture

Prints and Photographs Division

The Civil Rights Era in the U.S. News & World Report Photographs Collection: A Select List

A select list of images of the Civil Rights era from the U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection in the Prints and Photographs Division.

Images of Twentieth Century African American Activists: A Select List (text and images)

A select list of images of individuals frequently requested by researchers for which staff have been able to find acceptable quality images in the Prints and Photographs Division collections.

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

The catalog contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and other units of the Library. The Library of Congress offers broad public access to these materials as a contribution to education and scholarship. Find images of Civil rights leaders, Civil rights demonstrations, and images relating to Civil rights

Special Presentation

African-American History Month Portal

In celebration of African-American History Month, the Library developed this Web site highlighting the many resources on African-American history and culture available from the extensive online collections of the Library of Congress.

Teachers Page

Features and Activities

From Slavery to Civil Rights

Use this interactive timeline-based activity to introduce the topic of African-American history through primary sources.


This feature presentation introduces teachers and students to the topic of Immigration. The Social Revolution section discusses civil rights in the United States.

It's No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons

Use this interactive activity to take apart real-world cartoons and learn how to spot the methods behind the message.

Lesson Plans

After Reconstruction

Students identify problems and issues facing African Americans immediately after Reconstruction using text-based sources.

Segregation: From Jim Crow To Linda Brown

Students explore the era of legalized segregation. This lesson provides a foundation for a more meaningful understanding of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Themed Resources

Civil Rights

Explore the fight for voting rights as well as the racial history of the United States in sports and schools. Study maps, baseball cards and political cartoons as well as pamphlets, legal documents, poetry, music, and the personal correspondence and oral histories of the famous and the ordinary.

Virtual Programs and Services

Web Guides produced by the Digital Reference Section of the Library of Congress

African American Sites in the Digital Collections

This guide highlights contributions by African Americans to the arts, education, industry, literature, politics and much more as represented in the vast online collections of the Library.

Brown v. Board of Education, A Webliography

May 17, 2004, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the 1954 Supreme Court decision to end segregation in public schools. View selected digitized historical information that enhances classroom research.

A Guide to Materials for Rosa Parks

This guide provides links to resources about Rosa Parks and a bibliography containing selections for both general and younger readers.

Primary Documents in American History

This Web site provides links to materials in American history digitized from the collections of the Library of Congress that supplement and enhance the study of crucial documents. The site contains a page with resources for the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified on July 28, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. It also includes a page with resources for the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted African-American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."


American Democracy & the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters

As part of Law Day 2014, Jeffrey Rosen discusses American democracy and the rule of law in commemoration of the impending 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Bayard Rustin Papers

An examination of Bayard Rustin's involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Rustin (1912-1987) was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, pacifism and non-violence, and gay rights.

The Bill of the Century: A Literary Discussion with Clay Risen

Clay Risen discusses his book "The Bill of the Century: The Epic Struggle for the Civil Rights Act" (2014).

Civil Rights Act Exhibition Opening Program

The opening ceremony of the Library exhibition, "The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom," which explores the events that shaped the civil rights movement, as well as the far-reaching impact the act had on a changing society. The act is considered the most significant piece of civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in voting, public accommodations, public facilities, public education, federally funded programs, and employment.

Congressman John Lewis: "March II"

Congressman John Lewis discussed his life and work in the Civil Rights movement with 6th and 7th grade students from the School Without Walls at Francis Stevens in Washington, D.C. as part of a presentation about the second book in his graphic novel series co-written by Andrew Aydin, "March II". Lewis and Aydin described the genesis of this book series and Lewis gave a dramatic summary of the book and his life.

A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who was a young civil-rights leader in 1963, opened the photo exhibition "A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington" at the Library of Congress.

Documenting the Freedom Struggle in Southwest Georgia

Glen Pearcy and David Cline discuss Pearcy's documentary work with the Southwest Georgia Project, which documented local people at work and in their homes during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Ethel Payne, First Lady of the Black Press

James McGrath Morris discussed his new book "Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press." Payne was a journalist as a reporter for the Chicago Defender. In those pages, she continually urged President Dwight D. Eisenhower to support desegregation. She continued throughout her career to report on the struggles of the civil rights era, and her work is credited with persuading many African Americans to take up the cause.

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

Rep. Donna Edwards visits the Library to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

A commemorative look at one of the most important pieces of legislation of the civil rights movement: the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with Congresswoman Alma Adams.

Freedom Now: Jazz & the Civil Rights Movement

Library of Congress jazz scholar Dan Morgenstern discusses the role of jazz music throughout the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century.

Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from the Civil Rights Years

Patricia Sullivan discussed her book Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr, Letters from The Civil Rights Years in a program sponsored by the Library's John W. Kluge Center.

Hugo Black of Alabama: How His Roots and Early Career Shaped the Great Champion of the Constitution

Steve Suitts discussed his book Hugo Black of Alabama: How His Roots and Early Career Shaped the Great Champion of the Constitution.

James Meredith & the Ole Miss Riot

In September 1962, James Meredith became the first African American admitted to the University of Mississippi. A milestone in the civil rights movement, his admission triggered a riot spurred by a mob of 3,000 whites from across the South and all-but- officially stoked by the state's segregationist authorities. The escalating conflict prompted President John F. Kennedy to send in 20,000 regular Army troops, in addition to federalized Mississippi National Guard soldiers, to restore law and order. "James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot" is the memoir of one of the participants, a young Army second lieutenant named Henry T. Gallagher, born and raised in Minnesota.

John Hope Franklin: Where Do We Go from Here?

Distinguished historian John Hope Franklin, recipient of the 2006 John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity, discussed the history of the African-American experience and poses the question, "Where Do We Go from Here?" In a frank and honest discussion, he used his personal experiences to examine the successes and failures of race relations in America.

Law Day 2013: The Movement in America for Civil and Human Rights

Carrie Johnson moderated a panel discussion on the movement in America for civil and human rights and the impact it has had in promoting the ideal of equality under the law. This year's national Law Day theme, "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All" marked the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Speakers included Carrie Johnson, National Public Radio; Theodore M. Shaw, Columbia University School of Law; Jeffrey Rosen, George Washington University; Risa L. Goluboff, University of Virginia; and Kirk Rascoe of the Library of Congress.

Locality & Nation: Civil Rights & Voting Rights in the Deep South, 1963-1966

Thomas Jackson and Hasan Kwame Jeffries discuss the hard work of grass roots organizing of the civil rights movement that is often overlooked in histories. How well did national civil rights and voting legislation support their drive for authentic democracy and economic empowerment? Scholars uncover the lessons local organizers learned in the struggle against white violence and entrenched power in the Deep South.

Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist

Amina Hassan discussed her new book, "Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist." Loren Miller was one of the nation's most prominent civil-rights attorneys from the 1940s through the early 1960s. He successfully fought discrimination in housing and education. Alongside Thurgood Marshall, Miller argued two landmark civil-rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, leading to decisions that effectively abolished racially restrictive housing covenants. The two men played key roles in Brown v. Board of Education, which ended legal segregation in public schools.

A Matter of Law: A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights

Judge Robert L. Carter, an intellectual architect for the civil rights movement and the man who argued the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court, discussed his recently published memoir, A Matter of Law: A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights.

North of Dixie: Civil Rights Photography Beyond the South

Iconic images of the civil rights movement were largely photographed in the South. In a new volume of extraordinary photographs, historian Mark Speltz focuses on compelling civil rights images from north of the Mason-Dixon line, in places such as Philadelphia, Cleveland and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Voter Rights Act

A special program commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, specifically the Voter Rights Act of 1965 with Rep. Terri Sewell.

Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life & Lessons

Sheila McCauley Keys discussed her memoir, "Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons," covering both the public and private lives of the Civil Rights icon.

Reflections on Memory & History: Collecting New Oral Histories of the Civil Rights Movement

A half-century on, what remains to be learned of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement? Plenty, it turns out. Last year historian Joe Mosnier, together with videographer John Bishop, journeyed to twenty states to interview fifty individuals who, most as teenagers or young adults, gave themselves over to the civil rights struggle. This testimony -- urgent and immediate, but also refracted by memory and time -- compels a fresh look at "the movement," confirming, upending, and reaching entirely beyond the considerations that define the received civil rights narrative. Mosnier shares video excerpts, discusses emerging insights in relation to civil rights historiography, and offers brief personal reflections on the complex emotions engendered by the oral history experience for both interviewee and interviewer.

Remembering Our Father: The Story of M. Carl Holman

The 2009 theme for African American History Month was Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas. This year's celebration coincides with the centenary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Library holds more than 5 million records of the NAACP, which is the largest single collection ever acquired by the institution. Kinshasha Holman-Conwill, Kwasi Holman and Kwame Holman shared remembrances of their father's quest for black citizenship as an American civil rights leader and as the president of the National Urban Coalition.

Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer

Through the stories of such figures as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, author Kenneth W. Mack brings to life African-American legal practice across the nation during the civil rights movement. According to Mack, Marshall rose to prominence by convincing local blacks and prominent whites that he was -- as nearly as possible -- one of them. In addition to Marshall, Mack introduces readers to a little-known cast of other characters important to this narrative.

Rosa Parks Collection: Telling Her Story at the Library of Congress

Highlights of the collection of Rosa Parks, a seminal figure of the Civil Rights Movement, on loan to the Library from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation for 10 years. The collection is now available online.

Selma, the Voting Rights Act & Reel History

Gary May finds himself among several scholars who think the film Selma is seriously flawed. He explores the significance and continuing importance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, includes a critique of how the stories behind the Act are framed in the Hollywood lens and raises questions as to what such re-presentations mean for teaching and learning about history.

Teaching the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Join the Library of Congress education and newspaper experts to learn about the digitized historic newspapers available through the Chronicling America program. Explore teaching strategies for using the materials with students.

Teaching the Civil Rights Movement from the Bottom-Up 50 Years After the Voting Rights Act

This presentation will highlight bottom-up movement history and the ways it introduces students to a wider range of tactics and to a history that begins before the big marches and extends after the passage of landmark legislation.

This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer

Michelle Martin interviews Robin Hamilton about her film "This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer" (2015), a documentary short that explores the life of an impoverished sharecropper who became a powerhouse in the battle for the right to vote in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement.

This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible

Writer and journalist Charles Cobb discusses his new book, "This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible."

A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy's Big Speech

Author Shana Corey honors the 54th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's historic civil rights speech with her book, "A Time To Act: John F. Kennedy's Big Speech."

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March

Lynda Blackmon Lowery described her role as the youngest member of the Selma, Alabama Civil Rights March in 1965. Along with her co-authors, Susan Buckley and Elspeth Leacock, Lowery recounted her childhood during this period, and discussed the background of events that led to his landmark action. The authors showed illustrations and photographs from their book as well as primary sources, including original film footage, from the period.

We Had Sneakers, They Had Guns: The Kids Who Fought for Civil Rights in Mississippi

As an illustrator and journalist, Tracy Sugarman covered the nearly one thousand student volunteers who traveled to the Mississippi Delta to assist black citizens in the South in registering to vote. Two white students and one black student were slain in the struggle, many were beaten and hundreds arrested, and churches and homes were burned to the ground by the opponents of equality. Yet the example of Freedom Summer resonated across the nation. The U.S. Congress was finally moved to pass the civil rights legislation that enfranchised millions of black Americans.

Blending oral history with memoir, "We Had Sneakers, They Had Guns" chronicles the sacrifices, tragedies and triumphs of that unprecedented moment in American history.

"We Must Learn to Think in Terms of Collective Action:" Industrial Democracy and the Civil Rights Establishment of the 1930s

Toure F. Reed examines the influence of labor activism on the civil rights agendas of the NAACP and National Urban League and challenges presumptions about the ideological orientations of these important civil rights organizations. Reed describes how mainstream civil rights activists of the 1930s and 1940s began to perceive racial discrimination as an outgrowth of class exploitation as they were pushed to the left by New Deal labor law and working-class political movements.

Women Who Dare

The seven authors of the Library of Congress "Women Who Dare" series, which celebrates the lives of remarkable women who have shaped American history, discussed their books in a program sponsored by the Library's Center for the Book. The "Women Who Dare" series focuses on women who have changed the course of American history through their courage and spirit, often in the face of overwhelming circumstances. The six books and their authors are "Women of the Suffrage Movement" by Janice E. Ruth and Evelyn Sinclair, "Women of the Civil War" by Michelle A. Krowl, "Helen Keller" by Aimee Hess, "Amelia Earhart" by Susan Reyburn, "Eleanor Roosevelt" by Anjelina Michelle Keating and "Women of the Civil Rights Movement" by Linda Barrett Osborne.

National Book Festival Webcasts

Dorothy Height: 2004 National Book Festival

Dorothy Height discusses her new book Open Wide the Freedom Gate at the National Book Festival.

Juan Williams: 2003 National Book Festival

Juan Williams is senior national correspondent for National Public Radio, contributing political analyst for the Fox News Channel. Recipient of an Emmy Award for TV documentary writing, he is the author of several books including the bestseller, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965. His most recent book is This Far by Faith: Stories from the African-American Religious Experience.

Wise Guide to

He Had A Very Powerful Dream (an article about Martin Luther King Jr.)

He Was Truly Amazing (an article about Thurgood Marshall)

Mandating an 'Even Hand' (an article about the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board)

She Sat Down for What She Believed (an article about Rosa Parks)

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  March 16, 2022
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