Compiled and annotated by Judy Richardson, Northern Lights Productions; Former SNCC member, along with SALEM in History staff.
Branch, Taylor. Parting the Waters. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
First of a projected three-volume narrative history of the Civil Rights Movement. Covers the years between World War II and the early 1960s. Profiles King’s rise to national prominence and profiles other key players in the movement, as well as the social and cultural conditions that gave rise to the activism of the 1960s.
Branch, Taylor. Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65. New York: Simon &
Volume two of Pulitzer Prize winner’s narrative history of the Civil Rights Movement and biography of King. Covers the Movement in the North, Freedom Summer, Selma and the Voting Rights Act.
Cagin, Seth, and Phillip Dray. We Are Not Afraid. New York: Macmillan, 1988.
The story of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner and the Mississippi civil rights campaign.
Carawan, Guy and Candie. Sing for Freedom. Bethlehem, PA: Sing Out Corporation, 1990. (Compilation of two earlier Sing Out books: We Shall Overcome and Freedom is a
Story of the Civil Rights Movement through its songs.
Carmichael, Stokely, and Ekwueme Michael Thelwell. Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). New York: Scribner, 2003.
The autobiography of a SNCC leader and leader of the Black Power movement.
Carson, Clayborne. In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981.
A history of one of the Civil Rights Movement’s major organizations. This is a history of SNCC covering the organization from the sit-ins and freedom rides through community organizing and Freedom Summer and on to Black Power and the splintering and dispersal that followed.
Chafe, William H. Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina and the Black
Struggle for Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
A case study of grassroots organizing during the Civil Rights Movement, written by a major historian.
Collier-Thomas, Bettye, and V.P. Franklin, editors. Sisters in the Struggle: African-American women in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. New York: New York
University Press, 2001.
An anthology compiling writings by black women active in the movement.
Crawford, Vicki L. Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, 1941-1965. Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990.
A collection of articles examining the individual and collective ways black women contributed to the movement—through political activism, entertainment, journalism, etc. Adapted from scholarly papers presented at a conference in 1988.
Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
A narrative history of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi from World War II through 1968. Describes the efforts of individual activists and groups such as CORE, SNCC, COFO and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Also offers interpretation on how and why the Mississippi movement splintered.
Dyson, Michael. I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: The Free Press, 2000.
This biography of Dr. King emphasizes the radical core of his political beliefs.
Fager, Charles E. Selma 1965: The March that Changed the South. Boston: Beacon Press, 1985.
Story of the Selma campaign 1964-65 and the March to Montgomery by an SCLC field worker.
Fairclough, Adam. To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2001.
Fleming, Cynthia Griggs. Soon We Will Not Cry: The Liberation of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.
Biography of a major leader and activist in SNCC and the struggle for women’s rights.
Fosl, Catherine. Subversive Southerner: Ann Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
Biography of famed civil rights activist Ann Braden.
Garrow, David. Bearing the Cross. New York: W. Morrow, 1986.
Extensive biography of Dr. King and the history of SCLC.
Garrow, David. The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Viking Penguin, 1983.
Documents Hoover’s racist obsession and persecution of Dr. King and the Movement.
Garrow, David. Protest at Selma: Martin Luther King and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1978.
Hampton, Henry and Steve Fayer. Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s. New York: Bantam, 1990.
Hansen, Drew D. Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation.
New York: Harper Collins, 2003.
Story of the events leading up to Dr. King’s speech to the March on Washington in 1963, its effect, and how its meaning has affected the nation.
Haskins, James. Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement. New York: Hyperion, 1997.
A biography of the Civil Rights activist and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Written for grades 5-8.
Kasher, Steven. Civil Rights Movement: A Photographic History 1954-68. New York:
Abbeville Press, 2000.
Movement photo collection with text by participants. Forward by Myrlie Evers-Williams.
Lawson, Steven and Charles Payne. Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968. Lanham, MD: Roman and Littlefield, 1998.
Two scholars examine the individuals and events of the Movement.
Levy, Peter. Documentary History of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. New York:
Greenwood Press, 1992.
Ling, Peter J. Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Routledge, 2002.
A concise biography of the Civil Rights leader.
Manning, Marable. Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second reconstruction of black America from 1945-1982. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi, 1991, or St. Martins Press, 1997.
McAdam, Doug. Freedom Summer. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Describes the experiences of white northern volunteers during Freedom Summer. Based on interviews with former volunteers, includes their recollections of why they participated in the project and the impact that summer had on their future.
McWharter. Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
Thorough history of the Birmingham struggle of 1963.
Meier, August and Elliot Rudwick. CORE: A Study in the Civil Rights Movement, 1942-1968. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.
An important history of a major civil rights organization.
Mills, Barbara. Got My Mind on Freedom: Maryland’s story of black-white activism, 1663- 2000. Bowie, MD: Heritage, 2003.
Mills, Kay. This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. New York: Dutton, 1994.
Moving Young-Adult/Adult biography of a central figure in the Civil Rights Movement.
Moses, Robert, and Charlie Cobb. Radical Equations: Organizing Math Literacy in America’s Schools. Boston: Beacon Press, 2001.
About the Civil Rights Movement, the Algebra Project, and why math literacy is a key step in the fight for equal citizenship. Author (Moses) was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement, and applies some of the strategies and ideas of the movement to the needs/challenges of late 20th century.
Olson, Lynne. Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung heroines of the Civil Rights Movement 1830-1970. New York: Scribner, 2001.
History of women’s participation in the Movement.
Parsons, Sara. From Southern Wrongs to Civil Rights: The Memoir of a white Civil Rights activist. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, May 2000.
Story of a southern woman’s political journey.
Payne, Charles. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.
This study of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi focuses specifically on the sociology of the grassroots organizations and the individuals who would come to lead them. Uses Greenwood, MI as his case study.
Pitre, Merline. In the Struggle Against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900-1957. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1999.
Poslgrove, Carol. Divided Minds: Intellectuals and the Civil Rights Movement. New York:
Critical examination exposing the timid lack of support for the Movement on the part of American intellectual elites.
Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic
Vision. Chapel Hill: North Carolina Press, 2003.
Biography of the Movement leader (NAACP, SCLC, and SNCC supporter).
Reavis, Dick J. If White Kids Die: Memories of a Civil Rights Movement Volunteer. Denton, Tex.: University of North Texas Press, 2001.
Story of a summer project volunteer and the movement in Demopolis, Alabama.
Robnet, Belinda. How Long? How Long? African-American Women and the Struggle for Civil Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Describes the strategies used by black women leaders during the Civil Rights Movement and the challenges faced by activists.
Schultz, Deborah, and Blance Cook. Going South: Jewish women in the Civil Rights Movement. New York: New York University Press, 2002.
Oral histories and analysis of Freedom Movement activists.
Sitkoff, Harvard. The Struggle for Black Equality, 1964-1980. New York: Hill & Wang, 1981. Revised edition, 1993.
An excellent overview of the civil rights movement from World War II through the 1980s. Describes the key players and events in the movement and traces the legacy of the movement through to the issues facing blacks in America today.
Stanton, Mary. Freedom Walk: Mississippi or Bust. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.
Story of slain Civil Rights Movement martyr Bill Moore and his Freedom Walk.
Stanton, Mary. From Selma to Sorrow: Life & Death of Viola Luizzo. Athens: University of
Georgia Press, 2000.
Biography of the Civil Rights worker who was murdered by the KKK during the Selma Montgomery march. She is the only white woman honored at the Civil Rights Memorial at Montgomery, AL.
Van Deburg, William L. New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965-1975. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
A general historical account of the rise and fall of the black-power movement.
Washington, James Melvin, editor. A Testament of Hope: The Essential writing of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Harper-Collins, 1991.
Collection of Dr. King’s speeches, interviews, writings, etc.
Webb, Sheyann, and Rachel West Nelson. Selma, Lord, Selma. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1980.
Memoir of Selma’s “youngest freedom fighters” Sheyann, age 8, and Rachel, age 9.
Weill, Susan. In a Madhouse’s Din: Civil Rights coverage by Mississippi’s Daily Press, 1948- 1968. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 2002.
Chronicles the fight to desegregate Mississippi as reported by local newspapers.
Weisbrot, Robert. Freedom Bound: History of the American Civil Rights Movement. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1990.
A superb chronology of the post-war civil rights movement, in the North and South. Focuses particularly on the coalition between blacks and whites and how it failed to produce widespread social change.
Williams, Juan. Eyes on the Prize. New York: Viking, 1987.
Companion volume to the PBS TV series of the same name documenting the Civil Rights Movement from 1954-1965.
Woodward, C. Vann. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. 3rd edition. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1974.
Originally published in 1955, this edition of Woodward’s groundbreaking history of post-Civil War segregation and race relations in America includes a chapter tracing the Civil Rights movement through the early 1970s.
Zinn, Howard. SNCC the NEW Abolitionists. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964, 1965.
Outstanding history and vivid description of SNCC work in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and elsewhere during 1960-65.
Primary Sources Included
Carson, Clayborne, David Garrow et al. Eds. The Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights Reader:
Documents, Speeches, and First Hand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle,
1954-1990. New York: Viking Penguin, 1991.
Large compilation of primary source material. Invaluable for its ability to give a
wide overview of the movement .
Erenrich, Susan. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: An Anthology of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. Montgomery, AL: Black Belt Press, 1999.
Large compilation of valuable original source material on Civil Rights Movement.
Writings by and Memoirs of Movement Leaders and Activists
Brown, Cynthia Stokes. Ready from Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1990.
First person narrative of Septima Clark, one of the unsung heroines of the Movement.
Carmichael, Stokely and Charles Hamilton. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America. New York: Penguin Books, 1967.
This major text of the Black Power movement outlines the ideology of the movement and argues for the establishment of black political organizations and institutions as what the authors describe as “the last reasonable opportunity for this society to work out its racial problems shout of prolonged destructive guerrilla warfare.”
Deep in Our Hearts, Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000.
Nine first-person memoirs of the Southern Freedom Movement.
King, Martin Luther Jr. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. Clayborne Carson, ed. New York: Warner Books, 2003.
Based on King’s own writings and King archives.
King, Martin Luther Jr. Why We Can’t Wait. New York: HarperCollins, 1964.
King’s reflections on the Birmingham campaign, the history of the civil rights movement, and a call to action for future leaders.
King, Mary. Freedom Song. New York: W. Morrow, 1987.
Personal story of SNCC activist Mary King.
Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Dell Publishing, 1975.
Powerful story of a Mississippi Civil Rights activist – in her own words.
Seeger, Pete and Bob Reiser. Everybody Says Freedom. New York: Norton, 1989.
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History of the Civil Rights Movement in songs, pictures and interviews.
Websites and Web Resources
Compiled and annotated by SALEM in History staff
African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship
This site showcases a wide range of the Library of Congress’ marvelous African-American collections. Includes commentary, background and numerous primary sources (from photographs and song lyrics to manuscript sources, maps and published material). Divided into nine sections that extend chronologically and topically from “Slavery” to “Civil Rights,” this site includes extended looks at slavery, free Blacks, abolitionism, the Civil War, efforts to secure rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Great Depression and WWII and segregation. Because it tells such a long history and emphasizing not just struggles but achievements this site is a good place to look for sources and information on the long history of the Civil Rights movement and the remarkable people and groups who made up the story.
Alabama Department of Archives and History: Teacher Resources
(Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: Civil Rights Movement Unit)
Because many of the major events of the twentieth century Civil Rights Movement happened in Alabama, this site offers teachers access to five lesson plans using Alabama sources that tell much of the main story of the Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The Unit’s chronological scope is from Rosa Parks to the efforts to the Voting Rights Act. The site offers a brief overview of the Civil Rights Movement and each document-rich lesson includes background information and primary sources which include criminal records, maps, statistical data, telegrams, newspaper articles and manuscript sources. Most sources have been scanned in their original form. There are also links to additional materials in the collections of the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archives
A database of digitized documents on race relations in Mississippi, hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi. Includes letters and diaries from Freedom Summer teachers and transcripts of more than 150 oral history interviews, some that include audio clips. These are organized alphabetically and are searchable. The website also includes a searchable database of the civil rights movement-related manuscript and photograph collections held by the library at USM—a small portion of which has been digitized. USM is located in Hattiesburg—the site of the largest 1964 Freedom Summer project.
Civil Rights Movement Vets Website
Developed by the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, this web site is a clearinghouse of information for and about former civil rights activists. Dozens of former SNCC, CORE and SCLC members have submitted brief autobiographies, reflections on their participation, responses to questions about the movement and their thoughts on current events. The web site also includes more lengthy transcriptions of interviews with activists and links to activists’ web sites and contact information. Also includes a bibliography of books, videos, music and websites about the movement—including those appropriate for children and young adults. A great resource for primary source information on what the movement meant to participants and what individual activists have been up to for the past 30+ years.
Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone
(at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum website)
Drawing on the collections at the JFK Library and Museum, this site makes available to teachers and students a wonderful range of primary sources (e.g. tape recordings, telegrams, images) related to the controversy and events surrounding James Meredith’s attempt to register at the all-white University of Mississippi in 1962 and the ensuing showdown between the state and federal governments which drew President and Massachusetts-native John F. Kennedy into the debate over Civil Rights. The site does a particularly good job of framing the issues at stake and contextualizing the event. Timelines and essays/introductions to various aspects of the story (e.g. public opinion, James Meredith, the days of confrontation, and life in Mississippi and the aftermath) are included along with the primary sources. A specific “Teacher” section of the site is still under construction (as of April 2004), but note that the shape of the site is very teacher friendly as is.
“Sitting For Justice”: by William Yeingst, with contributions from Lonnie Bunch
A two part essay about the Smithsonian’s process of acquiring and displaying the lunch counter from Woolworth’s in Greensboro, NC where the first “sit-in” took place during the Civil Rights Movement. Interesting inside look at how museum exhibits are designed and how specific objects are interpreted to make sense of an era or movement. The lunch counter is now on display at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History and the essay is accompanied by images and sound recordings of related objects and materials in the collection that help interpret the lunch counter and tell the story of sit-ins.
Southern Poverty Law Center “Teaching Tolerance” project
This phenomenal website offers resources for teachers, parents, teens and children about becoming more aware of issues of diversity and tolerance in and out of the classroom. For teachers, there are resources and articles on teaching and modeling tolerance in the classroom, curriculum and lesson plans, kits and magazines, an online newsletter and information on grants. For parents: recommended books, videos and playtime activities and tips on dealing with difficult issues with children. The websites for teens and children are geared towards their age and interests with activities designed to make them more aware of diversity and encourage them to get involved in their communities.
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Information about all the Folkways recordings. Here you will find links to, and ordering information about, two collections of Civil Rights songs. Each link includes a complete track list and offers brief clips of some of the tracks for sampling.
1) Voices of the Civil Rights Movement, Black American Freedom Songs, 1960-1966 (Smithsonian Folkways 40084)
From website: “This double-CD reissue documents a central aspect of the cultural environment of the Civil Rights Movement, acknowledging songs as the language that focused people's energy. These 43 tracks are a series of musical images, of a people in conversation about their determination to be free. Many of the songs were recorded live in mass meetings held in churches, where people from different life experiences, predominantly Black, with a few White supporters, came together in a common struggle. These freedom songs draw from spirituals, gospel, rhythm and blues, football chants, blues and calypso forms. The enclosed booklet written by Bernice Johnson Reagon provides rare historic photographs along with the powerful story of African American musical culture and its role in the Civil Rights Movement.”
2) Sing for Freedom the Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through its Songs (Smithsonian Folkways 40032)
From the website: “Hymns, speeches, spirituals, gospel songs, and prayers...a moving civil rights collection drawn from 1960s field recordings in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The compilation captures the irrepressible spirit of that era and reveals a determined and triumphant African American culture. A collection of glorious songs and heartstopping selections by The SNCC Freedom Singers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and others.”
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Related Archives and Collections
--None listed at this time--
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--None listed at this time--
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