Civil Rights and Race in America

The African American Odyssey, American Memory, Library of Congress

More than 240 items dealing with African American history, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings are available on this website. The exhibition explores black America’s quest for political, social, and economic equality from slavery through the mid-20th century. It is organized into nine chronological periods, including slavery; the Civil War and Reconstruction; World War I and the post-war period; the Depression, New Deal, and World War II; and the Civil Rights era.

Voices of Civil Rights, AARP; Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; Library of Congress

This website represents the initial effort to create an archive of stories about the civil rights movement (both historical and contemporary). It includes essays, interviews, project updates, and special reports. An interactive “Timeline” serves as in introduction to the Movement, highlighting major events and accomplishments. “Stories” allows a visitor to read more than 100 personal stories about America’s civil rights history (10 stories include audio excerpts). Visitors can peruse the section devoted to the contemporary civil rights movement and its historical legacy. Here visitors can listen to interviews about the promise of equal education with Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, as well as many other activists. Students and teachers will find this site a convenient collection of primary accounts of the Civil Rights Movement, including the Chicano and Women’s Movements.

Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement, Digital Scriptorium, Duke University

This site provides access to more than 50 documents—including journal and newspaper articles, speeches, papers, manifestoes, essays, press releases, songs, and poems—concerning the women’s liberation movement. With a focus on U.S. activity in the late 1960s and early 1970s, documents are organized into eight subject headings: General and Theoretical; Medical and Reproductive Rights; Music; Organizations and Activism; Sexuality and Lesbian Feminism; Socialist Feminism; Women of Color; and Women’s Work and Roles.

Central High Crisis: Little Rock, 1957, Little Rock Newspapers, Inc.

The site includes multiple news articles and editorials from each day of the month-long crisis and 16 photographs. Historical memory is addressed by the inclusion of material on the 40th anniversary of the crisis in 1997, including: 13 op-ed pieces, speeches by Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and President Bill Clinton, an interview with President Clinton, and a 1991 defense by Governor Faubus of his actions. The site also provides 19 related newspaper articles written since 1997, timelines of events leading up to the confrontation and after, and a “Who’s Who” of participants.

The History of Jim Crow, New York Life Insurance

This online companion to The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, a four-part television series, tells the story of the African American struggle for freedom during the era of segregation. The site offers six historical essays and five themed essays focusing on creating, surviving, resisting, escaping, and transcending Jim Crow oppression from the late-19th-century to the Civil Rights Movement. There are shorter essays on topics such as Jackie Robinson and the lynching of Emmett Till and 10 interactive maps. The site offers more than 25 lesson plans, an interactive encyclopedia, historical photographs, and first-hand narratives.

Harlem History, Columbia University

This website offers a collection of oral history interviews, images, videos, and scholarship on various aspects of the history of Harlem. It is divided into three main sections. “Arts and Culture” focuses on Harlem’s artists, writers, and musicians. “The Neighborhood” provides seven exhibits that include an oral-history interview with the first African American patrolman in New York City, an essay and video on the architecture of Harlem, an essay on the decline of Jewish Harlem, Bayard Rustin’s reflections on different ethnic groups with economic interests in Harlem, and civil-rights leader Dorothy Height’s description of changes in Harlem and her attachment to the neighborhood. “Politics” offers four exhibits: oral history interviews with A. Phillip Randolph on Marcus Garvey’s movement in Harlem and Bayard Rustin on Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., a video lecture on Harlem politicians, and a video interview with David Dinkens on 1950s Harlem. The site also offers a short (eight images) photo essay entitled “The Streets of Harlem” and a multimedia presentation on the 1945 Negro Freedom Rally.

Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries and Center for Oral History

This website currently offers 150 oral histories with prominent figures on both sides of the civil rights movement. The site features interviews with civil rights leaders, such as Charles Cobb, Charles Evers, and Aaron Henry. The alphabetical interview index offers a short biography of each subject, as well as information on the date and place of the interview. The site also offers 16 collections of documents that include hundreds of pages of letters, journals, photographs, pamphlets, newsletters, FBI documents, and arrest records. Six collections pertain to Freedom Summer, the 1964 volunteer initiative in Mississippi to establish schools, register voters, and organize a bi-racial Democratic party.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, Stanford University

This site contains approximately 400 digitized speeches, sermons, and other writings covering the period from 1929 to 1958, as well as 16 chapters of material from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. The site also provides an interactive chronology of King’s life; a 1,000-word biographical essay; 23 audio files of recorded speeches and sermons; 12 articles on King; 32 photographs; and 11 links to other resources. This site is useful for studying the development of King’s views and discourse on civil rights, race relations, non-violence, education, peace, the war in Vietnam, and other political, religious, and philosophical topics.

Freedom Now! An Archival Project of Tougaloo College and Brown University, Susan Smulyan, Brown University

This searchable archive offers more than 250 documents from the Mississippi Freedom Movement, the struggle to register African Americans to vote in Mississippi in the early 1960s, and the continuing Brown-Tougaloo Cooperative Exchange that grew out of it. The archive includes books, manuscripts, periodicals, correspondence, interview transcripts, photographs, artifacts, and legal, organizational, and personal documents. The site offers two lesson plans, one focused on the experiences of college-aged civil rights workers during the Freedom Movement and the other on voter registration. This site is a useful resource for researching the Mississippi Freedom Movement, and the history and people of the civil rights movement

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1960s-1960s, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site features two “special presentations” and presents hundreds of primary materials relating to baseball in America. Materials include letters, manuscripts, trading cards, lobby cards, newspaper images, photographs, advertisements, sheet music, and transcripts of interviews, speeches, and television broadcasts. The first presentation, “Baseball, the Color Line, and Jackie Robinson, 1860s-1960s,” furnishes approximately 30 documents and photographs in a 5-section timeline that examines the history of Jackie Robinson’s entry into the major league baseball. It includes material on the Negro Leagues, the nature of baseball’s color line, Robinson’s career as a Brooklyn Dodger, and his role as a civil rights activist. While limited in size and focus with regard to general baseball history, this site is valuable as an introductory look at Jackie Robinson’s life and the topic of race in American sports history.

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

This extensive, well-designed website features more than 1,100 images, more than 60 maps, and more than 90 lesson plans, all focused on the movements of African Americans from the 1400s to the present. The site is built around the history of 13 African American migration experiences including: colonization and emigration (1783–1910s), Western migration (1840s-1970), Northern migration (1840s- 1890), the Great Migration (1916–1930), the Second Great Migration (1940–1970), Caribbean immigration (1900-present), the return South migration (1970-present), Haitian immigration in the 20th century (1970-present), and African immigration (1970-present).

African American Sheet Music, 1850–1920, American Memory, Library of Congress and Brown University

This collection presents 1,305 pieces of sheet music composed by and about African Americans, ranging chronologically from antebellum minstrel shows to early 20th-century African American musical comedies. A “Special Presentation: The Development of an African-American Musical Theatre, 1865–1910” provides a chronology. Sheet music can be studied to examine racial depictions, both visually, on sheet music covers, and in lyrics; styles of music, such as ragtime, jazz, and spirituals; and a variety of topics of interest to popular audiences, including gender relations, urbanization, and wars. Much of the material is disturbing due to its use of racial caricatures; however, students can gain insight into racial attitudes through an informed use of this site.