Journey to Justice

Exhibition: Resources and Credits


With thanks to everyone who contributed: researchers, writers, curators, copyright searchers, artists, volunteers, musicians, students, singers, designers, advisers, contractors and our funders. View the foldout exhibition handout here.


For the exhibition

Researchers/writers Mark Hutchinson, Michael Gillender, Pat Boyer, Carrie Supple, Laura Redfern, Steff Shepherd, Corinne Jones, Aminah Khan, Sarah Stewart, Shijia Yu, Dr. Emma Folwell, Sharon Walker, Martin Spafford, Desmond O’Reilly, Faduma Elmi, Sophie Stewart-Bloch, Anneka Bhosle.

For sharing their stories Janice Kelsey (née Wesley), Jean Stallings, Elmore and Peggy Nickleberry, Marcia Saunders, Ruby Bridges, Barbara Henry, Bayard Rustin (ove sholem), Jonathan Steele, Keith Hodgson, Maureen Foster, Theresa Easton, Meredyth Bell, Paul Barry, Dr. Ira Gruper.

Curator Katie Nairne and exhibition co-ordinator, with Carrie Supple.

Photo, newspaper, audio-visual resources copyright Jude Lancet, Alison Wood, Henry Worger.

Audio-visuals editor Joel Frosh.

Oral History Curiosity Creative.

Music Bethany Elen Coyle, Kingsmeadow Community Choir and NESS (North East Socialist Singers).

Art and poetry by children from Michael Faraday Primary School, South London and George Mitchell School, Leyton.

Design HKD – thanks to Scarlett Moloney, Glenn Mellor, Zara McKenzie, Rick Houghton.

Contractors Keyboard Group.

Advisers Professor Brian Ward, Bennett Singer, Dr Gabriella Treglia, Sue McAlpine, Jo Rosenthal, Sophie Herxheimer, Dareece James, Veena Vasista, Irena Ellis, Professor Ira Katznelson, Dr Madge Dresser, Dr Clayborne Carson, Dr. Karen Murphy, Hannah Ishmael, Imani Robinson, Reva Klein, Sean Snee, Professor Michael Honey, Leila Hamdan, Mary Spyrou, Parul Motin, Dr. George Lewis, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Will Essilfie, Rosaleen Lyons, Janet Browne, Mark Galloway, Nicola Bell, Ian Wall, Rachel Burns, Susie Morrow, Professor Barry Supple, Michael Norton.

Website and publicity design Vanishing Point Creative, thanks to Bernie Donohoe and Andy Donald.

For allowing us to include their wonderful photographs, programmes, interviews and films at no charge Mark and Dawn Brunner; Richard L. Copley; Adam Fowler, Overtone Productions; MAKERS; David Fankhauser; John Postiglione; Walter Naegel; Calvin Taylor; Eric Duncan, American Federation of Teachers International Affairs, Dept (Civic Voices); Bruce Harford,Civil Rights Movement Veterans; Tom Vague, Colville Community History; Glasgow Trades Council; Kevin Buchanan; Rutland Daily Herald; Joanna Stephenson/James Ware; Alexandra and Gabriel Raeburn; Zephyr Press; Bethany Elen Coyle; Murphy Cobbing; Bennett Singer; NPR; ATD Fourth World USA; The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library; Newcastle University; Jack Rottier collection, George Mason University Libraries; David Emeney, Bristol Evening Post.

Photo credits Bettmann/Corbis; AP/Press Association Images; Preservation and Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Memphis;; Zephyr Press; WHYY, Inc.; BBC World Service; The Western Mail; National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy; John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins; Jack Moebes; Getty Images; Hulton-Deutsch Collection; The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Centre, New York City; I Am A Man | The Movie team.

Our funders Sigrid Rausing Trust; Trusthouse Charitable Foundation; By Box; Cultural Affairs Department, US Embassy, London; Heritage Lottery Fund; personal and anonymous donations.


 ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’
Dr. Martin Luther King, 1963

Journey to Justice aims to inspire and empower people to take action for social justice though learning about human rights movements

 “I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a ymboli is violence.
Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence.
Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence.
Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.”
– Coretta Scott King

In this exhibition, we tell the stories of a few of the thousands of people who took part in the US civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. Most are names you will never have heard of. They are people like us and their choices led, in many cases, to significant social and political change. The civil rights movement remains a symbol for people who struggle for freedom on every continent.

What can we learn from them?


“There may be ways we can work for change.
We don’t have to do dramatic things or devote our entire lives to it.
We can lead normal lives but at the same time try hard not to be bystanders”
Helen Bamber OBE, human rights activist

Led by black Americans and building on resistance that began with slavery, the civil rights movement was made up of thousands of people and ymbolizedns, sometimes divided in their methods but united in their aim: to fight against the oppression, savage violence and attacks on black people that had persisted for hundreds of years.

In August 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till came from Chicago to visit family in Mississippi. Supposedly, he whistled at a white woman in a store, saying ‘Bye, baby’ as he left’.

Her husband and brother-in-law went to where Till was staying and took him away. They beat him, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, tied him to a fan with barbed wire and threw him into the river. Despite admitting their crime they were found ‘not guilty’ by an all-white jury.

Media coverage caused outrage across America after Till’s mother Mamie insisted on an open casket funeral to show the world the brutality of his murder.  For many, this was the tipping point: Mamie travelled across the USA telling her story and raising funds which were later used to pay legal fees during the Montgomery bus boycott. Rosa Parks said Emmett Till was on her mind when she refused to give up her seat.


Bayard Rustin
Research by Mark Hutchinson

“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” – Bayard Rustin

 If there is one person whose life captures the civil rights struggle better than most then that person is Bayard Rustin. However, he was often forced into the background and faced hostility, even from within the civil rights movement, and became increasingly forgotten and overlooked because he was not only a black man who believed in equality through integration, but one who was openly gay, a staunch pacifist and one-time member of the Communist party.

Rustin advocated for the use of non-violence and civil disobedience, deeply influencing Martin Luther King who had previously seen non-violence more as a convenience for the black community who did not have the firepower of their opponents: “I think it is fair to say that Dr. King’s view of nonviolent tactics were almost non-existent when the boycott began.” Rustin began to tutor King in the civil disobedience theory of the thinker Henry David Thoreau and the non-violent tactics of Mahatma Gandhi.

He was the key figure of the march on Washington, August 28th 1963, making meticulous plans, drilling marshals and bus captains and scheduling podium speakers.

“The march will succeed if it gets 100,000 people – 150,000 or 200,000 or more – to show up in Washington. It will be the biggest rally in history. It will show the Black community united as never before – united also with whites from labor and the churches, from all over the country.” Rustin

James Farmer, one of Rustin’s fiercest critics within the civil rights leadership, said in his autobiography in relation to Rustin’s role in the March that, “I have never seen such a difficult task of co-ordination performed with more skill.”

Rustin had also been the organiser and leader, along with George Houser, of the April 1947 Journey of Reconciliation ‘freedom rides’ of 8 black and 8 white men.  They travelled on interstate buses into the Deep South, following a federal law to ban segregated travel, which several states flouted by allowing the practice to continue. The 16 men were repeatedly beaten, arrested and jailed for sitting down next to each other.

Some civil rights leaders (e.g. Thurgood Marshall) had misgivings about the law-breaking tactics the men employed. In response, Rustin wrote an article in the ‘Louisiana Weekly’ in which he stated why such action was needed: ‘Unjust social laws and patterns do not change because supreme courts deliver just decisions. … Social progress comes from struggle; all freedom demands a price’.

“The principal factors which influence my life are 1) nonviolent tactics 2) constitutional means 3) democratic procedures 4) respect for human personality 5) a belief that all men are true.” – Rustin


Clips from Brother Outsider – The Life of Bayard Rustin:;


Ruby Bridges and Barbara Henry
Research by Pat Boyer

Born on September 8th, 1954, Ruby Bridges, at 6 years old, became the first African American child to integrate into a white Southern elementary school.

Desegregation of New Orleans schools was bitterly opposed since the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that all public schools should be desegregated. Louisiana and many Southern states passed laws to close schools facing racial integration. However in 1960, the Federal Court in New Orleans passed a law forcing two white public schools to admit black students. Only the first grade of the schools was to be integrated that first year.

On Monday 14th November, 1960 Ruby set off for William Franz Public School for the first time. She was to be the first and only black child to attend.  Ruby and her mother were escorted to the school by  armed US federal marshals. As they approached the school, there were police everywhere; barricades and mobs of white people screaming, shouting, chanting, threatening those who supported integration.

“I heard the words, bestial, filthy and degenerate”, – John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley).

White parents rushed to William Franz Public School to take their children out of the school (by the end of the week, only 3 white families remained at the school).

All teachers except one refused to teach black children. Barbara Henry, a young teacher from Boston, who had recently moved with her husband to New Orleans, was the only teacher happy to teach an integrated class. Barbara Henry taught Ruby alone in her classroom for a whole year before a few white children started coming back to the school. Every day, on approaching the school and leaving at the end of the day, Ruby was escorted by armed federal marshals and had to endure walking through mob of screaming, racist anti-segregationists threatening violence and death.

“Leaving the school each day seemed even more frightening than arriving in the morning. On leaving school in the afternoon- even with a police escort- you were always fearful of how people gathered on the sidewalks might choose to protest that day as you drove past them. The New Orleans police were supposed to be there to help us, but they very much disliked being the ones to enforce integration, so you could never be confident of their support and cooperation.” – Barbara Henry

A few brave white families carried on attending William Franz School during this year but they were attacked and daily abused.  They moved away to end the fear and daily ordeal their children had to endure. During that year, neither Ruby nor Mrs Henry ever had a single day off. Ruby never complained to Mrs Henry though she asked when the other children would come back. Finally, after a year, some white children returned to William Franz School and other black children attended, and the school became integrated.

In 1999, Ruby Bridges set up the Ruby Bridges Foundation ( with the mission of ‘Empowering children to advance social justice and racial harmony’, partly in response to her brother’s death. Ruby’s brother Milton was shot and killed in a drug-related incident in New Orleans. His children went to William Franz Public School. Ruby wanted to raise funds and campaign for better education and more equal opportunities for poor, children in inner-city schools e.g. William Franz School (which, according to school data 2014, now has 97% black students).


Video of Ruby meeting Obama in 2011 when Norman Rockwell painting was installed in the White House:

Links to the Ruby Bridges Foundation:;

Robert Coles talks about Ruby Bridges:

Article featuring Ruby Bridges’ comments on the US today. Civil rights figure: US divided by race again

by Associated Press:–US-divided-race-again.html

Further reading:

Bridges, R. and Lundell, M. (ed.) (1999) Through My Eyes. Scholastic.

Bridges, R. (2009) Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story (Scholastic Reader). Cartwheel Books.

Cole, R. (2010) The Story of Ruby Bridges. Scholastic.

Janice Wesley and the
Birmingham Children’s Crusade, 1963
Research by Laura Redfern

 1.          What motivated you to become involved in the movement?

ANS: I became involved in the Movement after I attended my first MASS meeting.  Rev. James Bevel spoke to the teenagers in a separate room and provided some eye-opening examples of inequities that were put upon us.  Some of what he said, I was not totally aware of and to hear it, I became determined to do what I could to change it.

Some of what he told us was that we were getting second hand books from white schools – I knew that, but I didn’t realize that our books were outdated.  He told us that we pay the same price for the food that we buy at lunch counters that where could not sit. Our football uniforms were second hand.

 2.    What did you hope to achieve?

ANS:  I wanted a level playing field; to be treated like everyone else; equal access.

 3.    How did you get involved? What were the tactics/ training you used?

     ANS: I attended some student non-violent workshops where we were prepared for being arrested.  Non-violence was emphasized, we could not fight back or respond to name calling or even being hit.

4.    What was the response to the march?

ANS:  The response of the students from all across the city was overwhelming!  It seemed to me, everybody that I knew was going to jail.  We talked about it, the popular radio DJs talked about it in coded language and song.  Being in the march was the thing to do!

 5.    Were you aware of any wider support for the children’s march? Was there any   white support?

ANS:  Although I was not aware of it at the time, but I learned later that there was white support; mostly financial and not public.

 6.    How did you feel during the movement? Was there any significant moments that still stand out to you?

                       ANS:  I was very excited about participating.  I realized the extent to which I had been unfairly treated and I wanted to do what I could to effect change in a positive way.  One of the most significant memories I have is that of the music.  “We Shall Overcome”!  Sometimes I cry when I hear it, even today!  The music was such an important part of conveying the message.  It was inspiring and encouraging.  I felt that God was on our side.

7.    How did your friends and family feel?

                       ANS:  Most of my friends were right with me in jail.  A few of my close friends had parents whose employers had threatened to terminate them if their children were arrested.  So they either went to school or stayed home.  They wanted to participate, but could not because of this. 

My mother had urged me to go to school, and not get myself in any trouble.  So I did go to school, but I didn’t stay.  I feel that she was more afraid of possible consequences than lack of support.  I didn’t fear going because I didn’t believe that anything could or would happen to me.

8.    Has your involvement had a lasting impact on you?

     ANS:  It has indeed had a lasting effect on me.  I am certainly more aware of legal matters that appear to reverse some of the gains that were made as a result of the demonstrations of the ‘60s.  I am also very sensitive with regard to receiving respect and equal treatment as a citizen of the USA.   I am concerned about injustice anywhere and everywhere and I will speak out against it. 

  I did not realize it at the time, but we made a significant contribution to human rights around the world.  It is something that I am VERY proud of today.

 9.    How do you feel about US society now?

     ANS:  It is a work in progress.  We have come a long ways from where we were fifty years ago, but there is still work to do. 

As I reflect on the overall state of society today, I see young black males representing the highest numbers in the penal system. America has the highest incarcerated population in the world compared to fifty years ago. Are we more or less being faced with a society where young black men are unjustly racially profiled, targeted and shot? Are we not in a society where the criminal justice system favors a guilty white, but rich person verses an innocent black, but poor person? We have NOT overcome yet.

10.    Has there been a link/ interest in the UK before now?

     ANS:  The link to the UK that I am aware of is that American slavery via Liverpool occurred and racial discrimination against people of color was prevalent.  Similar bus boycotts also took place in the UK during the 1960’s.

11.    What do you think a human rights movement needs to succeed?

     ANS:  The short answer for this is that you cannot legislate love.  So writing laws won’t make a human rights movement happen.  Using the civil rights movement as a template, people have to be educated.  The classroom would be a great place to begin implementation of an awareness of human rights and dignity.  This applies to all indigenous people; women and children.

12.     What do you think we can learn from your history and the history of the civil rights movement?

   ANS:  The movement was Christian based; it was non violent and had effective leadership.  Change happens slowly, but it takes persistence, perseverance and sacrifice.  Some of the battles were won because innocent blood was shed.  We paid a price for the freedoms that were obtained; some of us were bitten by dogs, some were hosed, many others were jailed.  Six innocent young people died.  Freedom was not free!

Courtesy of American Federation of Teachers, International Department, Civic Voices


Elmore and Peggy Nickleberry and the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, 1968
Research by Carrie Supple

  ‘I would definitely march again. I would march again because we needed rights. I needed to feed my family and the only way to get it was to march. And the same things are happening today. ’ – Elmore Nickleberry

Elmore Nickleberry was part of the Memphis sanitation workers strike in 1968. His wife Peggy Nickleberry supported him.

Many sanitation workers (bin men) made so little that they qualified for welfare even after working a 40-hour week. Like many other white people in Memphis, some of these supervisors thought of black people as their personal servants and called them ‘boy’. Black sanitation workers were often called ‘walking buzzards.’

The city hired and fired unskilled black workers at will, provided them with no showers or other sanitary facilities, no access to supervisory jobs, no rights and no respect, minimal health and accident insurance. The city did not provide them with gloves or uniforms. They did hard, heavy work, lifting leaky garbage tubs and carrying them on their shoulders or heads, or dumping the contents of pushcarts into outmoded decrepit trucks. City rules forbade black employees to seek shelter from rain anywhere but in the back of their compressor trucks, with the garbage. During foul weather, black workers were sent home without pay while the white workers were paid a full day.

‘It’s difficult to talk about it…during the cold weather my hands would be freezing and we had nowhere to get warm or shower…. Now it helps to talk about it but at first I wouldn’t… I came back to Memphis and found we weren’t getting treated right…And I think anyone who goes to fight for his country should come back and get a good job,  that’s what I think.’ – Elmore Nickelberry, I am a Man film footage

February 1, 1968: On a rainy February afternoon, two black sanitation workers sat inside the back of a garbage truck to stay dry. The walls inside the packer were caked with putrefying garbage of all sorts – yard waste, dead chickens and mouldy food. Old and poorly maintained, an electrical short in its wiring caused the compressor to start running, and Echol Cole and Robert Walker were crushed to death, chewed up like garbage. The deaths left the wives and children of the two men destitute. T. O. Jones, a union organizer, president of Local 1733 of the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) knew both of the men. He called their deaths “a disgrace and a sin.”

On February 11th Jones held a meeting with sanitation workers to discuss the recent deaths, partial pay on rainy days and safety conditions. They decided that enough was enough and voted to strike.

While reluctant to join the battle at first, the city’s black community, some 40% of the city’s population of half a million, saw the violent police response and the Mayor’s hard line against the workers as a carryover of the “plantation mentality” of white racism that so many people had endured in the mid-South’s history of slavery and segregation. When workers put up picket signs declaring “I Am a Man,” everyone knew exactly what they were talking about.

March 18th: The strike did not get much national attention until Dr. Martin Luther King gave an impassioned speech to 10,000 sanitation strikers and supporters in Charles Mason Temple, probably the largest indoor mass gathering in the South during the civil rights era. King declared, “all labour has dignity”.

Notably, even though the strikers were all male, women in both the black and the white communities played crucial roles through family, church, and community organizations in providing food, clothing and shelter for striking families and in spearheading a consumer boycott that devastated downtown merchants. The boycott is also an example of the solidarity between different groups as part of this protest, including the Black Power movement, churches and synagogues.

On April 4th 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was shot dead as he stood on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. He was back in Memphis to lead a march in support of the striking workers. His murder caused nation-wide grief, rage and despair but the movement did not stop.

The strike was settled April 16 and most of the workers’ demands were met.

The legacy of the strike:

The Memphis strike had widespread and historic repercussions, both negative and positive. King’s assassination left his Poor People’s Campaign to flounder; six weeks later, the murder of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy provided a crushing blow to the social change movements of the 1960s. However, the example of the strike’s success activated municipal, hospital and service workers across the South; AFSCME, viewing the strike as a seminal moment, evolved into one of the largest unions in the United States, and a powerhouse in electoral politics. The success of the sanitation strike in Memphis inspired thousands of other city employees from around the Southern United States to stand up and demand dignity, respect and more importantly, collective bargaining in their workplace. The organizing drive in the South not only included sanitation workers but hospital and school employees, social workers and bus drivers. Despite right-to-work laws and anti-union sentiment in the South, new AFSCME locals were organized in Baltimore and Charlotte, North Carolina. Local 1733 became the largest union in Memphis, and in Miami, sanitation workers gained one of the best union contracts in the nation.


Clip from At the River I Stand:

Film about the strike:

NBC interview with Lee Saunders:

I Am A Man: The Movie website:

NPR Fresh Air interview with Prof Michael Honey:

Further reading

Green, L. B. (2009) Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle. Univ of North Carolina Press.

Honey, Prof. M. K (2008) Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.


Marcia Heinemann Saunders
Interview by Carrie Supple

Were you very aware of the Civil Rights Movement

I’d been aware from a very young age; I went to a school in Cambridge. Mass (in the North, the ‘cradle of liberalism’). There was a skating club that all the kids joined but my father refused to allow us to join it because they didn’t allow black people to join. At first I was very angry but then my father prompted me to think about what it might be like to be excluded and I became very interested. At Cornell University I was involved in the anti-Vietnam campaign and various other political issues. I’d been to the March on Washington DC in 1963 and heard MLK and I always took most seriously the campaign for equal voting rights and education – they were incredibly important.

A number of Cornell students were among the early Mississippi Freedom Riders and two of those who set up the voting rights project were Freedom Riders and had gone to Tennessee in 1963 and were interested in Tent City.  I guess Pete Seeger singing Tent City and Fayette County was part of that.

Pete Seeger, the famous folk musician who recorded songs about oppressed Americans, took notice of the voting rights struggle in West Tennessee. Here is a lyric from Seeger’s “Fayette County,” on the album “Pete Seeger Story Songs.” Words by S. Cunningham. [The Jackson Sun, October 1960]

“They kept us from voting for nearly a hundred years,

And all because our color is not the same as theirs.

But now we’ve gone and voted and we live in tents today.

Our families cold and hungry but here is what we say:

We were born in Fayette County here we will stay.

It will take more than hunger to drive us away.”

I joined on my own but an old friend was in the group so we drove to Tennessee together. I’d left Cornell by the time they organised the project, I was at grad school at University of Chicago, but I knew lots of people in the group and the professors. I’d taken one of Professor Doug Dowd’s courses. I came back to Cornell a couple of times and took part in training sessions. It was very serious, most of the sessions were about how to respond to the extreme violence including allowing yourself to be picked up and carried away.

Funds – my father gave money to the campaign at the start and to the lady with whom we lived. The heart of the project – aside of course from the people and their leaders in Fayette County – was very much the Cornell community, Ithaca and Tompkins county people. Part of the strength was that people tended to know each other and draw on those networks – there was a high degree of trust. It wasn’t a mass national campaign, it was very local and I think we’ve had a lot of experience in this country too, that successful campaigns are local and it’s hard to make them national because they are built on human relationships and shared responsibility. It’s very important that we were invited in by local people who’d been fighting for their rights, unsuccessfully, for years – we didn’t just impose ourselves as ‘do-gooders’, we always saw ourselves as supporters not as their leaders.

My Dad was proud and supportive from the beginning. My friends’ responses were ‘I wish I could go too’.  They thought it was exciting.  I don’t suppose they knew how dangerous it was. It wasn’t a lark, it was very serious, it was round about the time they found the bodies of Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney, they were only 15miles away and it was terrifying. So we had to be very disciplined about where we went. We didn’t go to white areas or white stores, we were very careful and we didn’t fraternise with whites except Mr. Redfearn (the candidate for sheriff) because if you got into trouble it would hurt the project. We were all in this together and as a whole group we met twice in 8 weeks. With hindsight we should’ve had more meetings, to see how we were doing and support each other.

So the McFerren grocery shop garage was very important, we were there most days to buy food or get a tire fixed. Mr. John McFerren was the local civil rights leader. He’d been in the Korean War and that was some of the genesis of this. Black men had been in integrated forces – were prepared to give their lives to the country – then came home, couldn’t vote, their children had an awful education and they could only be sharecroppers and received dreadful treatment. A lot of the campaign energy came from that huge sense of INJUSTICE.

Arriving in Tennessee – mother and daughter were lovely, warm and welcoming. I remember the yellow candlewick bedspread and how pristine and everything was, even though there was no running water.  We got water from a well several times a day.  They were beautifully dressed in ironed clothes and they lived in a shack! And this was true of the whole community. Our host and her daughter were incredibly kind and generous. She rather treated us as if we were her kids. There was no husband. I asked if they were divorced and she explained that ‘No, people like us could never afford to get married.’ She did a little housekeeping and sharecropping to keep ends together.

We developed a friendship and wrote for a few years but then lost touch. At first we worried we’d be seen as patronising but I don’t think they would’ve allowed themselves to be patronised. These were pretty brave people and for a single mum to take in two girls was quite something.  Food? I can remember eating grits – they were so awful at first but then I loved them.

Church was incredibly important. Because most of our work was 1:1 or 2:2 – we’d go around to sharecroppers’ shacks and talk about voting, or schools or whatever and then invite people to come with us to town to register but without pressure or frightening them or making they feel manipulated. The time we saw the community together was in church each Sunday and usually at the end of the service we’d be asked to say what we were doing.  We made it clear people could tell us to go away. We said, “Please don’t think you must give us anything to drink” but we were always given tea or coffee or more importantly water, it was so hot.

I became confident. On the whole the men would talk with the men and I’d talk to the women, not just about voting but about our lives. I think it was pretty even between numbers of men and women registering – as always women were quite a quiet backbone.  They asked why we were doing this and why we were all Jews (which we weren’t). I think I said Jews had suffered persecution, they know about the Holocaust; a lot of our parents had been involved in it.  We were the post-survivor generation and that made us conscious of the persecution of black people.  My dad’s family was German Jewish, they came to the US in the 1850s and my mother’s family were Quakers. The American Friends Service Committee brought her out of Nazi Germany because she was outspoken against Hitler and was in danger.  My father was a teacher who had been a communist and involved in labour movements.

Did being involved in the summer of ’64 influence your future work? Yes, it was seminal because I learned so much about the community I went into and I saw how people supported or didn’t support each other and the importance of networks, trust and the ability to be frank about feelings and fears, and how to handle yourself under pressure or in crisis – this has been useful in my role as a health service and social services manager. I learned about managing myself, about the responsibility that comes from being part of a group or team, and I think I learned to listen and take seriously people who were less privileged and see them not just as victims but as people to respect.

I didn’t come away feeling triumphant; after all, we lost the election. But I felt that probably I had got more out of it than I had given and I worried we’d left these people in a perilous situation. In a deeply dreadful way the murder of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner protected us because white people were a bit nervous after that about what they still wanted to do to us.

The FBI were horrible – I went with a group of local black people to see the FBI in Memphis, to complain about the harassment, and the questions they asked were about us, the volunteers, not about the hard time black people were having but about whether we’d coerced them. It was clear that it was we who were being investigated and we cut it short, it felt threatening. I made a note of the questions they asked in my report of the visit to Memphis my father wrote to his congressman and senator about the FBI’s behaviour and the lack of security this meant.

How aware were you of all the movements within the movement? I was very aware. During my time at Cornell, MLK and people from SNCC and CORE came to raise money. Were you attracted to any one group more than others? No. Because MLK was so famous, all these rich kids turned up and I remember him announcing, ‘Now I want to take a silent collection’ and he held up a dollar bill!  It was wonderful.

What was key to the fact that the project went ahead and was a success?

The leadership within Fayette County was very important, it was absolutely central. As for ourselves I think the fact that so many of us had already been involved in the CRM and early anti-Vietnam stuff on campus was crucial. I was one of the few who at the time we went down who were no longer at Cornell but I still had strong networks there and that was a source of strength. Had we just applied at a national level and gone down as individuals it would have taken at least a year even to get started but we as a group were part of the planning and shared responsibility for how we worked together as well as for what we did.  We had ownership. I think what people can learn from this kind of experience in the past is not theoretical – it’s about networks, relationships, values, a willingness and indeed courage to take risks, and trust. It’s helped me appreciate in my subsequent career why it’s so hard to transfer innovative projects – planning and implementation are parts of a whole, not a sequence of events.

We were invited; there was already a black network; we didn’t just plonk ourselves down. Fayette’s black leadership was skilled, smart and experienced.  They realised that this part of Tennessee had a lot in common with Mississippi, which was notorious and attracted most of the voter registration attention.  There had been some fragmentation and divide and rule, and they saw that getting people from outside could help in such a situation – not a common enemy, but, in this case an external common friend or ally. Such success as we had was not because we dreamt up a good project and had good values but because we were there at best on an equal basis and more probably on a subservient basis.  I always saw John McFerren as the real leader. The network he led was based in social networks and the Korean War. In this rural area people spent time developing networks, including those weekly gatherings at church.

What I remember about church was the singing and constant talking – it was like going to a celebration though I don’t wish to diminish the religion. I was so impressed by the people – the way they looked and they were so emotional. It was a very different culture from New England.

Sometimes a black farmer who, unusually, had a property, barbequed a pig…then there was a group of us but we didn’t spend much time all together.   It wasn’t a party. I grew, we all did, and became both more mutually reliant and also more self-reliant at the same time. I think we all developed acertain resilience. I mean you can’t drive along a road with people trying to force you off it into a ditch without developing resilience – you have to be absolutely calm and keep it together and say, ‘Take a right here…Hang on….’ We would throw tacks (pins) out the window to give them flat tires but the tacks would still be on the road next day and we would get flat tires and we would limp along to McFerren’s garage and get it fixed. That was always quite nice to tell you the truth because we got to sit in the store…and sometimes I helped out in the store while we got our tire fixed. I only came face to face with our attackers when they passed us in cars yelling obscenities, or on the rare occasions when we were in town, in Somerville, walking along the boardwalk somebody would mutter or stop and stare at you. When I went back to Chicago I felt much more comfortable among black people than white people for a while.

We drove people to register once a week and drove them home. They were usually silent. They were worried. It was scary. It wasn’t just that they might be beaten up but historically they could be evicted, lose their job (Tent City) – all kind of things could happen in the 1960s. Then we drove them to vote on Aug. 6th. Black people were made to wait for hours, and were only let in to vote when there were no white people in the room or waiting. There were lots of infringements, like more people ‘voted’ than were listed, including dead people.   We lost the election, and as planned whatever the outcome, we all left the next day.

I found copies of the letters I wrote to my dad and he wrote to politicians after he died. He’d kept them all. While we were there one of us who became a well known journalist wrote an article for the New York Herald Tribune and David Halberstein from the New York Times came down; there was quite a lot of publicity about it. Donald Street, a local Ithaca (Cornell’s location) journalist who had been sceptical came down, changed his mind and wrote about it.

I went back to Chicago, studied hard in grad school and I adjusted back to academic life. I got involved in a literacy project with black people; many of the black people in Chicago were themselves or had parents from the south so there was a connection. MLK began to speak out about the Vietnam War and black people began wondering what they were doing there and he was in danger from then.

I left the US in 1967 because I got married to a Norwegian.  The experience of the CRM and Vietnam War did not make me proud to be an American and when I fell in love I couldn’t get out of the States fast enough. At the time I really didn’t want to live there though I know I was privileged in so many ways and loved my family and other people.  I now go back often and have dual nationality.

The CRM itself didn’t transform American society, but was a step forward.  Probably the thing that has had the greatest impact is Barack Obama’s election, that symbolic thing of a black President that does partly come out of the CRM. I know many people find him disappointing, but I don’t, because of the dreadful racism he’s had to put up with and is still fighting.

Do you think the CRM can teach us today about how to response to social injustice? Yes, provided it’s not just intellectual and theoretical stuff. It’s important to see the continuity of effort.  It’s more about what kind of person you want to be, how you as a person relate to other people, and what they should be able to expect of you and it’s about collective action…Persistence, resilience, trust, mutuality, all those things.  I think there were some important links between the CRM and anti-apartheid. I was very involved in AAM here; that had a similar motivation; and I guess I can link it to women’s rights and to working in or protecting the NHS, which has the same values of fairness and justice and equality at its heart.

The singing and music were important to our morale. If we did get together we were too tired to talk very much but you can always sing because you know the words and music and in the church the music was wonderful…the Gospel singing…We sang We Shall Overcome, If I Had a Hammer and of course Bob Dylan picked up the mantle…Tom Paxton…Billie Holiday . . . I remember at high school hearing Pete Seeger when he came to Harvard and gave a concert.  But what’s really important is that people think about movement as work. It wasn’t about the wonderful chats or the great songs, or sitting round planning the revolution and it certainly wasn’t about shouting ‘C’mon guys let’s vote!’ It was quiet conversations, other people’s courage and absolute determination.


Interview with Jonathan Steele
by Michael Gillender

On 28/01/2015

So, you were studying at Yale at the time of Freedom Summer. How aware were you of what was going on around you at the time of the US Civil Rights Movement?

Well, six months before the Freedom Summer, some friends from Yale and I made a mini trip down to Mississippi for a few days.   We went because they were holding an election for the governorship of Mississippi and the local black organisations decided they would hold their own parallel election to dramatise the fact that most blacks couldn’t vote because so many were not allowed to register.  The idea of the parallel election was to pretend they were registered and show they wanted to vote.   It was partly a publicity thing, but also a way of mobilising ordinary black people.  It was the same thing that they were to do later next year in ’64 for the Freedom Summer.  They invited a few white students to come down and people from Yale went, people from Stanford in California… so, that was my first experience of the South, not the Freedom Summer but November 1963.  Before I went, of course I knew broadly, like anybody might, that there was a problem with Civil Rights in the southern states of the United States. And that black people couldn’t sit in restaurants, go to the same hotels and certainly not go to the same schools as whites… and I knew there was a voting problem.

We saw quite a lot of violence in the four days we were down in Mississippi in November ’63. Fire marshals came in and broke up one of the mass meetings we were at.   They claimed there was a fire hazard and we all had to get out and to the street and pack up.  O another occasion we were in a black church, a relatively modern building in a town called Biloxi, a crowd developed outside and started throwing rocks and stones into the church, smashing the windows and we were all cowering inside behind the pillars of the aisle trying to avoid being hurt. So it was just a very very tense, brutal sort of atmosphere.

That’s what made me decide to take part when they decided to have a whole, big project going on for the whole summer next year with about 800 students down there.

How similar was Freedom Summer the next year to what you’d experienced the year before? What drove you to go south again?

Well, it was pretty much the same thing. There was quite a bit of violence. Obviously you would know of the famous case of the three young people who were murdered.  One of them had gone down there just as we had from the orientation session that we had in Oxford, Ohio where we trained for a week before we went down.  Nobody was allowed to go to Mississippi unless they’d had some training, which we hadn’t of course had the first time the previous year.

When we got to Mississippi we came across a lot of violence and suspicion but we made a lot of progress. Most of my time was spent talking to black people, canvassing, going door-to-door like you do in a British election.   Just going round to people’s houses explaining to them… not so much the issues of policies between parties but simply why it was important to register to vote because blacks could make a difference if they voted.    We would draw up lists of people who said they were willing to go down to the courthouse to register.    You had to do it physically in person.   There was no postal registration so that was a huge psychological barrier to black people.  The courthouse was considered a ‘white man’s building’,  you know, and to have to go down there and not know how you were going to be treated or whether you’d be beaten up.   Some people who were in jobs were often threatened that they would lose their job if they registered or if their wife registered. So there was a lot of fear and pressure that you had to overcome and that’s what canvassing was all about.   It was much more intense than British elections you see because you were really dealing with huge historical issues of fear and anxiety and even a sense of inferiority. I mean one of the things we had to keep telling these people was “don’t call us Sir”.   Some would say “we’ll go down and register Sir” and we’d say “you know don’t call us Sir.   We’re not in charge of anything, we’re not the bosses, we’re not the plantation owners, we’re just trying to help.”

And then we would make a date with people.  First we would check out whether they were willing to get registered and again you had to be careful, sensitive because we were white, we were better spoken, better educated than many of these people and we didn’t want to just kind of bully them as it were into registering.   That would be using a sort of equal pressure to what they were suffering from in the past when they were told not to register.   Now suddenly they were being told they must register so you had to be very sensitive about it.

Then we would draw up lists of people who were willing to register and we’d try and organise transport because it was an awful long way to the courthouse for people. And make arrangements for who would go in the morning of what day, and who would go in the afternoon.  We didn’t want a great crowd to come to cause a big incident so maybe just five or six people would go in the morning and five or six in the afternoon. We would stand in the back and just monitor it.   Obviously, we weren’t registering ourselves.

It sounds quite painstaking actually

It was very painstaking because we had to be very sensitive, I mean people would warn us – blacks were called Negroes, that was the current terminology –  they would say Negroes are very, very slow because they’ve lived in this situation for a century and ‘Don’t get impatient, just take your time’.   Sometimes we would talk about voter registration in churches and some churches were no good; that was another thing.  First you’d go to see the pastor of the church and say “could we hold a meeting in your church at the end of the Sunday service?” – “have ten minutes or fifteen minutes to talk to the congregation about voting and why we’ve come down here”. There was a lot of curiosity what all these young white were kids doing in Mississippi.

Absolutely, they must have never seen anything like it?

Yeah they hadn’t, so we had to explain what we were doing, why we’d come and then explain why voting was important. Some churches would let us in and some wouldn’t and then we would start making lists as they came out of church and say ‘who is willing to go down on Thursday week or whatever it is, to the courthouse.’

That was another question I was going to ask.  What sort of response did you get from them, not necessarily from the white citizens but the people you went to talk to, were they hostile or were they..

No no, nobody was – you mean the Negroes, the black people? Nobody was hostile.    But there was a lot of apathy and of course we were fired up, we were very idealistic, impatient, eager to get on, so sometimes you got sort of angry.  You had to hold back your anger at people’s apathy.   You thought ‘why on earth can’t they see the point?’.  You felt if they could combine and get together it would be so much better but people would say to us “You know it’s been like this for centuries, it’s ancient. The white folks are too strong and they won’t allow it”.   Or they’d tell us the whites will fire us from our jobs – so we had to be quite sensitive.    But people did respect us.    They would say you  ‘we really respect your coming down here you’re trying to do something for black people, you don’t have to be here, we admire you for that but you must understand we can’t do it’.

Going back to Oxford, Ohio… what sort of experience did you have there, was it a week-long orientation is that right?

Yeah it was a week-long thing, a combination of briefings about Mississippi, just basic education about what the state is like, the history, the reasons for the prejudice and discrimination, how the voting obstacles are put in place for black people; a certain amount about the local economy, many blacks in the rural areas obviously were sharecroppers on these huge cotton plantations. Some of it was about the legal arrangements:  if you get arrested what you should do, how you should behave if you’re beaten up or if people come towards you threatening to beat you up, what your response should be. You know, not to be provocative, to be very submissive, polite and not try and use violence back.

Then there was a lot of what was meant to be morale raising stuff about how important the work was, and then almost the opposite of that, a kind of psychological testing. We were told in no uncertain terms that there was a great risk there, and, if you didn’t want to go then you shouldn’t. They didn’t want people who were going to have crises when they were down there.

In fact I was just looking at my notes before this interview.   I’ve still got the little notebook that I had in Mississippi and I’ll just see if I can find some of these quotes…

Is that for – you wrote an article?

Just basic notes – here is a great quote from somebody saying “you laugh” (this is from a black person) “you laugh to keep from crying, the black man has been laughing for a long time, and I feel sorry for America if he ever stops laughing”

We were told that there were three attitudes that we must avoid having when we got down to Mississippi: one was to be condescending, another was to be missionaries, and the third was to pretend that we were Negroes ourselves. We can’t get into people’s shoes, we come from a different background, we have a white skin, and we’re protected to some extent…

There’s the famous pictures as well you see these pictures from these orientation sessions, they’re getting trained in non-violence, shouting abuse at each other, things like that – did you have to go through –

Here’s a quote from one of the black SNCC people – I haven’t got it written down who it was.  He’d been working in Mississippi, now this was in Oxford, Ohio, that he was talking to us.   “Man, I’m scared to death, but I go back, I drink, I have to, ‘cos I’m scared. Like some people have nightmares but they go back. Our guts are all fucked up. We love you, we love you all, or else we wouldn’t have you down to Mississippi”     So you’ve got stuff like that which made you feel ‘God if they can take the risk – and it’s much worse for them, we should be able to go and help them’.

Here’s another quote, maybe from the same person, it’s on the same page of my notebook: “We’re proud of all of you white people coming down to join us, you’ve had the pluck to do it.   As for the Negroes, they have to be in Mississippi, they belong there”.   I wrote my reaction to that session: “This was an extremely valuable session.  For the first time I began to realise just how scared these SNCC workers are, what constant tension they are under. If they appear aloof and resentful of us white students, it’s because of a kind of justified feeling, we whites are just kids who know nothing, but they do know.”

Here’s another quote:   I’m swamping you with stuff here. Here was somebody who’d served as a GI conscript in the Korean War: “Man, I was in Korea, I learnt to kill people, and all my life I’ve been taught to hate white people, but I love you people and I’m proud you’re coming down. And when I think of some of the things that are going to happen to you, I’m sick inside, man.”    ….  He was saying that to us the day before those three volunteers were killed.[1]

Okay, moving on to that, I’ve read that you were questioned by the FBI…

Yeah, you’ve got the dates not quite right there.  What happened was this. – I had a car which had actually been provided by the people who’d paid for my fellowship, I won a fellowship to go to the United States to do graduate studies. It was a very generous fellowship, they actually rented you a car! But it had New York license plates and I felt I had to tell the Harkness people – it was called the Harkness fellowship – that I was going to go to Mississippi. They weren’t very keen.  They said ‘do you really have to go?’.    I said ‘I feel I want to go and it’s important for me to see what goes on in different parts of the United States.’ That was actually one of the requirements of the fellowship, to learn about the United States, not just to be head down and studying for a Masters degree, but you were meant to learn about the US.  So I said ‘look, this is a learning experience.  I feel I want to go’.    They tried to dissuade me but they said finally ‘well we can’t stop you going but don’t take the car!‘    So I agreed that I wouldn’t use the in Mississippi.   I drove to Ohio for this orientation thing and then we piled in with three other guys to give them a ride down to Mississippi. We’d been delegated to go to Vicksburg – so I dropped the other three off in Vicksburg and carried on and took the car to Louisiana, because I thought it would be safer to leave the car in a different state.     I went to some long-stay, open air car park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and just left the car there.     I mean the man who I had to pay asked ‘”when are you coming back?”      I said “I’m not sure, it might be several weeks.”     I paid some kind of deposit but he obviously thought it was a bit suspicious; some young white person speaking with an English accent, New York license plate car suddenly being abandoned in a long-stay car park with an indefinite date.   At some point he got in touch with the FBI, who traced the car, that it was a rented car from the Harkness people and they found my name through it.    Eventually,   —  it took them about three weeks  –  I got a phone call from them, saying would I come down and be interviewed in New Orleans which was where the FBI head office for Louisiana was.

What were they like?

Well they were alright, I mean they were very curt, but at that stage the bodies of these three fellow workers of ours had not yet been discovered, and there was a sort of prevailing argument among the white community that it was a stunt, the disappearance of these boys was a stunt organised to try and discredit Mississippi and the whole of the white community in Mississippi.  They claimed they were just hiding and gone off somewhere.    In other words, that these three boys were still alive and had faked their disappearance.  Maybe they were in Havana because we were all assumed to be Communists of course.   Basically the main thrust of the questioning from the FBI was in line with this theory.  Had I taken these people away somewhere, had I brought the car down on my own to Louisiana, did I know anything about these three young men.    They seemed to be satisfied when I told them I had nothing to do with it, I didn’t know anything about it, I didn’t know where the young men were; that I had no clue. The interview ended and that was the end of it.

That’s better than – I suppose you’ve read the – Marcia Saunders? Her account of it? That’s more pleasant than I expected, to be honest with you. Okay, we’ll move on a little bit. Our focus is on ordinary people making progress with social justice. What was it like during Freedom Summer, was it driven by people like yourself, the ‘rank-and-file’ or – because there is always a lot of talk about leaders, people like Stokely[2] and Fannie Lou Hamer, people like that. But what about, in your opinion was it driven by the ‘rank-and-file’? or by leaders and leadership?

Well the key strategic decisions were driven by the leadership but you know we were all spread out all over the state. There were about a dozen of us in Vicksburg and in other small towns there were similar numbers. In the sharecropping area of the so-called Delta, the Mississippi Delta, there might be just two or three people in small communities.   So it was all very fragmented and basically we took our own decisions.  We decided every morning which part of town we were going to canvass in, whether we were going to go out to some churches in the evening, what we were going to do on the Sunday. So it was quite autonomous and fragmented. The leader of our group was a local black Mississippian guy called Andy, and there were a dozen of us, boys and girls, who were white. Most of us came from these Ivy League universities, more affluent universities so they were middle-class kids and well, frankly they were staggered by what they saw in their own country.   They couldn’t believe this was part of the United States of America.

I remember one girl writing home to her parents,   putting Philadelphia on the address then starting to write ‘USA’ as though she was writing from a foreign country back home to Philadelphia, USA!    And she suddenly said ‘God no this is part of the USA I don’t need to put USA on the envelope!’.   So they were pretty staggered by what they saw; and you know one or two people did drop out. Either they came under pressure, particularly it was discovered these three people had been killed.  There was some pressure from parents to leave and others individually decided they’d had enough.    But most people carried on because they felt the work was essential, they saw the courage of people around them, they didn’t want to let the side down.

The problem really was our relationship with this chap Andy.  We had no leader amongst ourselves.  We were all individualistic people.  Nobody wanted to accept leadership from somebody else. Andy was the one who was supposed to be a leader, obviously he was less articulate, less confident verbally, and we had to defer to him sometimes. There were rows and always this little bit of white/black, sort of


Not tension so much as sort of awkward embarrassment, awkwardness because we’d never really had much dealings with black people, he’d had not much dealings with white people except in a sort of confrontational or hostile, resentful sort of environment.

Stokely Carmichael was at the Oxford, Ohio sessions but I don’t really recall anything particular he said. The key person was Bob Moses, you’ve heard of Bob Moses? He’s going to be 80. He’s having his 80th birthday party quite soon I think somewhere in New York City. He was very soft spoken, absolutely committed to non-violence. You know he was really inspiring – it was inspirational leadership, soft spoken leadership not the thumping, arm-waving sort of person, shouting from a platform. It was much more intense and convincing.

Okay, do you think, what sort of progress do you think was made, that summer anyway? Do you think you did a good job?

Oh I think a lot of progress was made because it produced this split at the Atlantic City Democratic Party Convention later that summer, when there was a great argument over seating an integrated delegation from Mississippi.   Fannie Lou Hamer you know was the famous black delegate.   It really paved the way for Martin Luther King.  He wasn’t really involved in voter registration.  It was much more of a SNCC thing but King then took up voter registration in a big way, it led to the Selma events of February and March the following year, 1965; and Lyndon Johnson came in convinced that he had to support a Voter Registration Bill.

We did make a lot of progress and, of course the Civil Rights Act was passed while we were down there in July ’64 which integrated public facilities.  But that was on the back of – not what we’d done but on the back of the Freedom Rides and the sit-ins that started in 1961 and ’62.

So, what did you take away from it all? From the whole Summer Project?

Well, I was completely radicalised. You know I was planning on – well I wasn’t sure what career I was planning on you know but it would have been a fairly sort of middle-class career! And in the end of course I did end up with a middle class career but I wrote an article for The Guardian from Mississippi which they published and then when the Selma events happened the next year they asked me to cover Selma so I wrote another article for them from Selma.   So it actually both made me much more radical in my political opinions and more committed to bring about change from the grassroots, bottom-up change; but it also fortuitously, completely unplanned, gave me an opening into a career in journalism.

And that’s been pretty successful I’d say…

Very lucky! But I must stress it wasn’t planned.     I mean everybody was asked to write something, this is perhaps quite a good point perhaps to mention; you know I explained how this girl was writing to her parents about what was going on but everybody was asked to write articles for their local newspapers to get the word out.  If we’d have been in the social media age no doubt everybody would have been putting stuff up on Twitter and Face book.   But in those days your local newspaper was the place. Or a student newspaper if you were still a student, on a campus somewhere.  Everybody was writing articles so when I decided to write an article for an English paper it wasn’t because I suddenly saw this as an opportunity to get into journalism.  It was more ‘we must get the word out’, ‘we’re bearing witness’  ‘we’re telling the world about horrible things that are happening, the world needs to know’ We happen to be here in Mississippi and one of our jobs is to tell other people about it.

Non-violence was something I wanted to focus on, it’s a key, central theme for us as well. What was your attitude towards this tactic in general?

Well it worked.   There was this contrast between the violence of  those whites who were resisting and the completely peaceful nature of the black protests and the people queuing up to register to vote.   That was a dramatic contrast.    So I was very much in favour of the non-violence thing.    There was an argument as you know.  People like Stokely Carmichael later came round to the use of violence and the whole thing got more polarised.    We hadn’t had any race riots, everything was peaceful, and the blacks were completely peaceful.  You couldn’t blame them or accuse them of anything.    When the race riots started I think it was the one in Watts, a suburb of Los Angeles in 1965 that was the first big one.    It muddied the waters because people said well why are they burning stuff down and what’s the point and its madness.   They lost some of their moral purity by turning to riots; and then turning to the actual use of guns, you know the Black Panthers.

Okay, I want to go back a little bit, you were saying about the Harkness people not approving of going down to Mississippi, what about family, people at home, did you tell them?

I told them in advance and I did write the occasional letter to them and they were very supportive — that’s the wrong word – they were very accepting of it.   They weren’t encouraging me to do it, they weren’t telling me that I was mad and I should stop doing it.   They kind of accepted it. It was really good to have that.  If they had put me under pressure not to go,   it would have been more difficult.

Okay that’s great, I’d like to think that my own mother would do that too! Now, there is also a big push for the music and its role in the Movement, I have the John Lewis quote here: “Without music and song, the non-violent movement would be like a bird without wings”. Was that noticeable?

Yes, it was a real morale-booster.   There’s nothing like choral singing to create a group dynamic and group solidarity.   At all these sessions at Oxford, most of them would end with some kind of singing,   either ‘We Shall Overcome’ or ‘This Little Light Of Mine, I’m Going To Let It Shine’ or any other of those songs.   And of course in the churches, as I said we used to go to these churches and take part in the services and in these black churches the responses were wonderful.  You’d talk and they’d say “Oh yeah!” “Yes Sir! You tell it like it is!” all that kind of stuff, and some people would get almost carried away in a kind of trance of responding to the preacher.   I mean we didn’t get anything quite that dramatic but the hymn singing and the gospel singing was incredible, so it was really a morale booster… very important.

[1] Three American civil rights’ workers, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner, were shot at close range on the night of June 21–22, 1964 by members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office and the Philadelphia Police Department located in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The three had been working on the “Freedom Summer” campaign,

[2] Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) – former SNCC chairman, honorary chairman of the Black Panther Party, and prominent Civil Rights/Black Power activist

The Greensboro sit-ins
Research by Katie Nairne

“I had the most wonderful feeling. I had a feeling of liberation, restored manhood. I had a natural high. And I truly felt almost invincible. Mind you, [I was] just sitting on a dumb stool and not having asked for service yet,” – Franklin McCain.

On February 1st, 1960, four black students sat at a lunch counter in a ‘whites-only’ restaurant at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina. They were asked to leave but refused, sitting at the counter until the shop closed.

The next day, the ‘Greensboro Four’ – Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Jr. and David Richmond – were joined by more than twenty other black students from other campus groups. They were heckled by white customers and even a black woman working there as a dishwasher, who called them “stupid, ignorant… rabble-rousers, troublemakers”.

By day 3 there were 60 students, both black and white. By day 4 there were 300. The sit-ins spread across the country, and students began boycotting stores with segregated lunch counters. The majority of the protests were peaceful, and served as examples of Martin Luther King’s idea of non-violent protest, but there were some instances of violence where fights broke out.

The sit-ins were covered in newspapers and on television and received government attention when President Eisenhower expressed sympathy for the protestors, saying he was, “deeply sympathetic with the efforts of any group to enjoy the rights of equality that they are guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Women played a vital part in these demonstrations, and in fact a sit-in had been carefully planned by female students of Bennett College for a later date. This has been somewhat overlooked by history, but without the hundreds of women protesters the sit-in movement might never have been successful.

Sales in segregated stores dropped by a third and owners were forced to abandon segregation policies. On July 25th, 1960, black employees of Greensboro’s Woolworth’s store were served at the lunch counter. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandated desegregation in public places.


Interviews with Dr Willa B. Player:

Interviews about sit-ins in Nashville:

Audio: The Woolworth Sit-in That Launched a Movement, from ‘All Things Considered’, courtesy of NPR:

Further reading 

Brown, L. B. (2013) Belles of Liberty: Gender, Bennett College and the Civil Rights Movement. Women and Wisdom Foundation Inc.


Jean Stallings and the
National Welfare Rights Organisation
Interview by Sarah Stewart

Jean has been an activist with ATD Fourth World for nearly 15 years. On behalf of Fourth World, she’s participated in the UN’s human rights committee and the subcommittee on the eradication of poverty.

With ATD Fourth World, she spoke recently at a conference at the UN on poverty and shame.


I didn’t consider myself part of the civil rights movement, although reflecting back I can see that we were. We were a group of mothers, some single, some married, most on benefits. As women on welfare, we were humiliated – we felt talked at, as though we had no part in the decisions in our lives.

So, in 1966, when I was in my 20s, I got involved with the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). It was started by George Wiley, who taught at Syracuse University. He galvanized different chapter sin the US – all over the country – encouraging people to lead. But the most important person in the NWRO was Johnny Tilman, a great activist in California. She was a leader of the mothers.

I got involved early on. I had three children, and it was a struggle. How did it happen? I was always looking for a place to buy things at a discount… so one day I walked with my kids, one of them in a stroller, to a sale at the Five Towns community center in Inwood, Long Island, which was being run for the NWRO. The director, John Kearse, ran a chapter of the NWRO there. I walked in, and that was it – forget the bargains! I listened to the speakers. It seemed to me that it was a place of safety, where mothers’ voices could be heard.  Someone asked me to sit in on a meeting. It changed my life.

At the time, in the 1960s, there was great shame in being unmarried and having children. Some of the other women were in the same predicament, and they understood. In those days there was so much shame.  Poverty and shame went together. And intimidation. The social service authorities would just come, unannounced, and look under your bed, in your belongings, searching for a sign that you had a man in the house. They checked your food, they checked everything. It was terrible. They were disrespectful – as though your welfare payment was coming out of their pocket. They would say, you’re going to do what I tell you, or else; they would threatened you. Some women had children placed in shelters.

So these meetings gave us all a great sense of safety. I felt so good going there. During that time, the mid-1960s, I got involved in local campaigns, we talked to politicians about childcare – because there was no Head Start then – and it gave me confidence to speak. You have a voice, Jean! That’s how I felt.

The organization wanted me to go to Albany to the national meeting. They asked me to be a delegate alone with two women, Adie and Mabel, both from Chicago. And we met Dr King and expressed our desire to be recognized by his movement.

At that time, women were not at the forefront of these movements. We were called “warrior mothers” – we were single mothers, vocal, demanding, not pleading, saying we have a right. Sometimes people were taken aback. Even Dr King’s movement wasn’t always pleased with us. People today don’t realize what we were up against.

They called us “warrior mothers” because we didn’t plead – we told. Some people thought we were too aggressive, but it was what we had to do. At the 1968 National Democratic Committee we shouted our way in – open the doors, open the doors for us mothers! And they did. I was invited to the caucus for childcare, and they listened to us.  We got the funding for childcare that we needed. That kind of success forpoor women was pretty rare in those days. We were women from all over – Baltimore, Roxbury in Boston, California, all across the US.

At the meeting with Dr King, the only time I ever saw him, I asked, why isn’t Coretta talking to us as a mother? “Sister,” he replied, “Coretta’s not feeling well, but I will relay the message to her.” I never found out if he did; he was killed a few months later. But his poor people’s movement was branding out – he was starting to oppose the war in Vietnam and include women.

I got involved in the Voting Rights Act, walking the streets to register voters. I was asked by John Kearse to advocate for funding for Head Start. I spoke to a congressman and said we needed a Head Start program for the community center.  And we got the funding!  One of my children was in one of the very first Head Start programs. We spoke to Dick Gregory of Illinois; we went to the Democratic Committee to the caucus for childcare. We had dignity.

I had felt I couldn’t do anything, I had three children and no high school degree. The War on Poverty in the early 1970s helped us women. We got jobs, they put us in training programs for people on welfare, they provided childcare and a community center.  People on welfare were trained to be managers and assistant managers of food pantries. I was chosen to be a manager for a food pantry in a poor community in Elmont, Long Island. Along with distributing cheese, butter, beans and dried milk, I put up a bulletin board with notices to the community telling them what their rights were. For that reason, it was great – until the Republicans closed it down. I managed  the National Welfare Rights Organization propelled me to go on to other things – I got my education and volunteers in different things. That voice for change was in me and I went on.

It’s so important to feel part of something. It doesn’t have to be big – you don’t have to be famous. You just have to give a part of yourself, and have a voice for change.  I wasn’t a leader but a little seed – I had a voice.

Because I got involved with the NWRO, I learned how to speak with all kinds of people. I learned that I could be part of something bigger. It gave me a voice – it helped me find my voice. It’s now who you meet, whether they’re famous, or your title, but that you participate and speak out without fear. That’s what’s important.

These days, young people don’t feel they can do anything. You just have to plant a seed of hope. And listen to them. Listen to their pain. Their experience means more than anything.  Once they start talking to others, once they meet others and listen, they see people who are suffering more or less than them, and begin to feel the safety net opening up.

Things are stacked against young people today. Wars, division, political struggle. The man in New York who was shot in his own building. The 12-year-old shot in the playground.

I hope young people know there are things they can do. In my day, it wasn’t just the Freedom Riders or the leaders. Everyone played a part. Maybe it’s a small part today, but what matters is that they change their lives and someone else’s life, too.


 US-UK stories
Research by Aminah Khan, Jude Lancet and Steff Shepherd

We tell some of the stories linking the US civil rights movement and the UK including the Bristol bus boycott of 1963 inspired by Montgomery and in opposition to the Bristol Omnibus Company’s racist employment policy. We also tell the stories of the window from ‘the people of Wales’ for the bombed 16th Street Baptist Church and of Martin Luther King’s honorary degree from Newcastle.


 UK History
Research by Martin Spafford

We include a map of the UK showing a few of the lesser- known struggles for freedom and equality over centuries in the UK. We want to elevate the histories of non-violent campaigns for human rights and show how ‘people like us’ chose to dedicate their energy to working for social justice. We stand on their shoulders and we aim to inspire and empower participants now, to get involved.


Some songs of the civil rights movement

  • We Shall Overcome is a protest song that became a key anthem of the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968). It is widely believed that the title and structure of the song are derived from an early gospel song, “I’ll Overcome Someday”, by African-American composer Charles Albert Tindley (1851–1933)
  • Motherless Child The song dates back to the era of slavery in the United States when it was common practice to sell children of slaves away from their parents. Although the plaintive words can be interpreted literally, they might alternatively be metaphoric. The “motherless child” could be a slave separated from and yearning for his or her African homeland, his or her spouse, parents, siblings or child(ren) (from all or any of which he or she may have been separated in the trafficking process) or a slave suffering “a long ways from home”—home being heaven—or all.
  • Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen is a spiritual song. The song is well known and many cover versions of it have been done by artists such as Marian AndersonLena HorneLouis ArmstrongPaul RobesonSam Cooke among others.
  • The Hammer Song is a song written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays. It was written in 1949 in support of the progressive, and was first recorded by The Weavers, a folk music quartet composed of Seeger, Hays, Ronnie Gilbert andFred Hellerman.
  • ·                 There Is Power in a Union is a song written by Joe Hill in 1913. The Industrial Workers of the World (commonly known as the Wobblies) concentrated much of its labor trying to organize migrant workers in lumber and construction camps. They sometimes had competition for the attention of the workers from religious organizations. The song is sung to the tune of “There Is Power in the Blood (Of the Lamb)”.
  • I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free is a gospel/jazz song written by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas in 1963, best known for the recording by Nina Simone in 1967 on her Silk & Soul album. Billy Taylor has explained: “I wrote this song, perhaps my best-known composition, for my daughter Kim. This is one of the best renditions I’ve done, because it is very spiritual.
  • Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around is a traditional song that was adopted by the civil rights movement in Albany, Georgia in the early 1960s. This recording features the SNCC Freedom Singers, a student group that travelled around the country singing at mass meetings and rallies. “Chief Pritchett” refers to Albany’s police chief Laurie Pritchett, “Mayor Kelley” refers to Albany Mayor Asa Kelly.
  • Imagine written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. The best-selling single of his solo career, its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisiveness of religions and nationalities, and to consider the possibility that the focus of humanity should be living a life unattached to material possessions.
  • Oh Freedom  is a post-Civil War African-American freedom song, often associated with Odetta, who recorded it as part of the “Spiritual Trilogy”, on her Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues, and Joan Baez, who performed the song at the 1963 March on Washington, and has since performed the song live numerous times throughout the years, both during her concerts and at other events. The song predates these events by at least three decades for it was recorded in 1931 by the E. R. Nance Family with Clarence Dooley as “Sweet Freedom”.
  • Joe Hill born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund in Gävle, Sweden, and also known as Joseph Hillström (October 7, 1879[1] – November 19, 1915) was a Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, also known as the “Wobblies”).[2] A native Swedish speaker, he learned English during the early 1900s, while working various jobs from New York to San Francisco.  Hill, as an immigrant worker frequently facing unemployment and underemployment, became a popular song writer and cartoonist for the radical union. His most famous songs include “The Preacher and the Slave” (also known as There’ll be Pie in the Sky By-and There Is Power In a Union express the harsh, combative life of itinerant workers, and call for workers to organize to improve conditions for workers.
  • Solidarity Forever, written by Ralph Chaplin in 1915, is perhaps the most famous union anthem. It is sung to the tune of “John Brown’s Body”. Although it was written as a song for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), other union movements, such as theAFL-CIO, have adopted the song as their own. It is still commonly sung at union meetings and rallies in the United StatesAustralia and Canada, and has also been sung at conferences of the Australian Labor Party and the Canadian New Democratic Party.
  • A Change Is Gonna Come by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke released on December 22, 1964 by RCA Victor. Produced by Hugo & Luigi and arranged and conducted by René Hall, the song was the B-side to “Shake”. The song concerns African-Americans and contains the refrain, “It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.” The song was inspired by various personal events in Cooke’s life, most prominently an event in which he and his entourage were turned away from a whites only motel in Louisiana. Cooke felt compelled to write a song that spoke to his and the struggle of those around him, and he recorded the song for its first release on his final album, Ain’t That Good News.
  • The Internationale (French: “L’Internationale”) is a widely sung left-wing anthem. It has been one of the most recognizable and popular songs of the socialist movement since the late 19th century, “This is the final struggle / Let us group together and tomorrow / The Internationale / Will be the human race.”). It is often sung with the left hand raised in a clenched fist salute and is sometimes followed (in English-speaking places) with a chant of “The workers united will never be defeated

Music of social justice

Research by Chloe Oliver, History student at Northumbria University

Blowin’ In the Wind

  • It was a cover song that Dylan performed when he was less well known
  • Originally written by Peter, Paul and Mary a folk-singing group
  • It was performed at the 1963 March on Washington
  • It became their biggest hit single
  • Dylan gained national exposure when he performed the song with the group at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival
  • It had a major influence on Sam Cooke, as the songs had links to racial injustice
  • It is argued that “A Change is Gonna Come” was inspired by Bob Dylan
  • Stevie Wonder was the first black man to take “Blowin In the Wind” to #9 in the charts in 1966
  • It has been covered by many artists such as Dolly Parton and Neil Young
  • When it was performed by Peter, Paul and Mary, Mary was said to have had an epiphany, as when she was looking out at the crowd of 250,000 people she truly believed that this was the time for social change
  • The song was put in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999
  • “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?” – seeking racial justice
  • Moving, protest song that was an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement

Bob Dylan

  • His real name is Robert Zimmerman
  • Born in Duluth, Minnesota  on the 24th May 1941
  • In high school he formed the Golden Chords
  • He briefly attended the University of Minnesota in 1959
  • He began to play in local coffeehouses and legally changed his name in 1962
  • He moved to NYC in 1961 and was the opening act for bluesman John Lee Hooker
  • He signed to Colombia records in 1962
  • His first album produced in 1963 was ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ and included protest songs such as “Masters of War” and “Blowin in the Wind”
  • Joan Baez recorded some of his songs and invited him on tour with her
  • By 1964 he was playing 200 concerts a year
  • With his album ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ his style changed from folk to rock n’ roll
  • On july 29th 1966 Dylan had a motorbike accident and broke several neck vertebrae, had a concussion and received lacerations on his face
  • He was in critical condition and was bedridden for a month with effects such as amnesia and paralysis
  • On June 9th 1970 he received an honorary doctorate from Princeton in music
  • He performed at the Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison
  • He moved to Malibu in 1973 and signed with the Asylum label
  • In 1978 he embarked on a world tour in which he redid some of his old songs
  • He announced in 1979 he was a born-again Christian and did a 22-city U.S. tour and in 1982 travelled to Israel
  • One of his songs, “Neighbourhood Bully” was about Arab-Israeli relations
  • He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989
  • In 1991 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy’s
  • He made a triumphant appearance at Woodstock in 1994
  • He received the Kennedy Centre Lifetime Achievement Award from Bill Clinton in 1994
  • He will always remain the most influential American musician rock and roll has ever produced
  • His lyrics are so inspirational they live on in poetry and continue to inspire people such as Jimmy Carter and Vaclav Havel

The Internationale

  • Left-wing anthem
  • Written by Eugène Potter weeks before the crushing of the Paris Commune in 1871
  • He wrote it while hiding from the authorities as he hoped to flee to London
  • It was published in his 1887 collection “Chants Révolutionnaires”
  • It was the followers of Jules Guesde in the Socialist Party of France who adopted the song at the time of the Dreyfus Affair
  • In 1900 they presented it at the International Congress in Paris
  • The Dreyfus Affair began in 1894 and continued through to 1906. The controversy centred on Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who had been convicted for selling military secrets to the Germans. At the time the public supported the conviction as Alfred was a Jew and many anti-Semitic newspapers ymbolized him as disloyal. The novelist Emile Zola protested against the verdict and published a letter in a newspaper in which he attacked the military for their mistaken conviction of Dreyfus. This ended up splitting France into those who supported the conviction and those who did not. In August 1898 an important document implicating Dreyfus was found to be forgery. Then it was confessed that it was forged to strengthen the army’s position. Led by Radicals, a left-wing coalition was formed. Rousseau emerged as head of the cabinet with hope of settling the Dreyfus affair. A new court-martial convicted him guilty, but the president of the republic pardoned him in 1899.
  • The Bolsheviks adapted the song as their national anthem and but it was replaced in 1944 by Stalin
  • Anthem of those seeking fundamental change in society
  • It was banned in the fascist Spain regime under Francisco Franco
  • It became the international battle cry of the world’s working class
  • “Arise, you condemned of the earth! Arise, you condemned in hunger” – these are the words of condemnation against injustice and exploitation of capitalism
  • It has been translated across the world and rewritten to suit the competing factions of the “Left”


  • Originally started out as a poem written by the Cuban writer Jose Marti. The poem is about a girl from Guantanamo and was written from the point of view of a Cuban revolutionary.
  • Pete Seeger heard the song by Hector Angulo, who was singing it at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Seeger adapted it in honour of Marti and made the song part of the peace movement
  • The Sandpipers, in 1966, recorded a version of this hit and it was #7 in the UK and #9 in the US
  • Part of the patriotic Cuban national anthem
  • Pete would encourage his audience to sing in Spanish as he believed America was a sort of bilingual country and it became an anthem for immigrants, Cuban or otherwise

Jose Marti

  • National hero of Cuba
  • Political activist, port, revolutionary, journalist, college professor of literature and a consul
  • Born in Cuba in 1853 when Cuba was part of Spain
  • He completed a B.A. Honours in Law and Philosophy
  • Later one he wrote many poems, books and newspaper articles and became politically active
  • Got into political trouble for his writings and so travelled a lot- Cuba, Venezuela, Guatemala, and New York from 1883 to 1895
  • He did not want Cuba to be annexed to the U.S. and in 1892 founded the Cuban Liberation Party
  • He fought for Latin American unity against U.S. imperialism
  • In 1895, at the age of 42, he helped launch an invasion of Cuba for Cuban independence
  • He was shot and killed by Spanish forces
  • He is considered one of the great writers of the Hispanic world
  • He devoted his life to end Spanish colonial rule in Cuba and to prevent Cuba falling under control to any other country
  • His writings condemn despotic regimes and the abridgement of human rights

Art of Social Justice

The demand for social change can be expressed in many ways and we put the arts at the heart of Journey to Justice, knowing the power of art, music, dance, literature and film to change minds and inspire action. For examples of the art of social justice please see here or click on the image below, with thanks to Shijia Yu 



Civil rights movement  – resources and links 

With huge thanks to Dr Emma Folwell



Branch, Taylor, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988)

Fairclough, A., To redeem the soul of America: the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987)

Garrow, David J., Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, (New York: Vintage Books, 1988)

Leventhal, W. S., The SCOPE of freedom: the leadership of Hosea Williams with Dr. King’s summer ’65 student volunteers, (Montgomery: Challenge Pub., 2005)

Peake, T. R., Keeping the dream alive: a history of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from King to the nineteen-eighties, (New York: P. Lang, 1987)

Weisbrot, R., Marching toward freedom, 1957-1965: from the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to the assassination of Malcolm X, (New York: Chelsa House, 1994)

Southern Christian Leadership Conference biography, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Primary sources relating to the SCLC, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

SCLC website,

FBI Records on SCLC, FBI Vault,

Article reprinted from Soul Force, the journal of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) 31 March 1968 discussing the foundation of SCLC, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., Victoria Gray Adams Papers, Digital Collections – McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi,

Bayard Rustin

Anderson, J., Bayard Rustin: troubles I’ve seen: a biography, (Berkeley, 1998)

D’Emilio, J., Lost prophet: the life and times of Bayard Rustin, (New York, 2003)

Haskins, J., Bayard Rustin: behind the scenes of the civil rights movement, (New York, 1997)

Levine, D., Bayard Rustin and the civil rights movement, (New Brunswick, N.J., 2000)

Podair, J. E., Bayard Rustin: American dreamer, (Lanham, 2009)

Rustin, B., and M. G. Long, I must resist: Bayard Rustin’s life in letters, (San Francisco, 2012)

FBI records on Bayard Rustin, FBI Vault,

Bayard Rustin biography, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Memo from Bayard Rustin to Martin Luther King Jr., 10 May 1957, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Memo from Bayard Rustin to Martin Luther King Jr., 23 December 1956, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Biography and links to primary sources relating to Rustin, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Birmingham Campaign

De Schweinitz, R., If we could change the world: young people and America’s long struggle for racial equality, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

Eskew, G. T., But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle, (Chapel Hill and London, 1997)

Garrow, D. K., Birmingham, Alabama, 1956-1963: the Black struggle for civil rights, (Brooklyn: 1989)

Jimerson, R. C., Shattered glass in Birmingham: my family’s fight for civil rights, 1961-1964, (Baton Rouge: 2014)

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Why We Can’t Wait, (New York: Harper & Row, 1964)

McKinstry, C. M. and D. George, While the world watched: a Birmingham bombing survivor comes of age during the civil rights movement, (Carol Stream, 2011)

McWhorter, D., Carry me home: Birmingham, Alabama, the climactic battle of the civil rights revolution, (New York, 2001)

Mills Thornton, J., Dividing lines: municipal politics and the struggle for civil rights in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, (Tuscaloosa: 2002)

Wilson, B. M., Race and place in Birmingham: the civil rights and neighborhood movements, (Lanham: 2000)

Birmingham Children’s Crusade, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

1963 Birmingham Campaign, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Timeline and primary sources relating to Birmingham Children’s Crusade, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

Primary sources relating to Birmingham, Alabama, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

‘Birmingham: People in Motion’, Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’, Martin Luther King, Jr.,

‘WSB-TV newsfilm clip of Malcolm X condemning the federal government for not protecting African commenting on violence in Birmingham, Alabama’, 16 May 1963, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Rev. Shuttlesworth

Manis, A., A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, (Tuscaloosa: 1999)

Manis, A. and White, M. L., Birmingham revolutionaries: the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, (Macon: 2000)

Interview with Fred Shuttlesworth, 9 August 1984 by Marcie Stillman, University of Alabama,

Interview with Fred Shuttlesworth, by Andrew Manis, Andrew M. Manis Oral History Interviews, Birmingham Public Library,

Interview with Fred Shuttlesworth, by Andrew Manis, 28 October 1988, Andrew M. Manis Oral History Interviews, Birmingham Public Library,

Interview with Fred Shuttlesworth, by Andrew Manis, 13 January 1989, Andrew M. Manis Oral History Interviews, Birmingham Public Library,

Telegram from Martin Luther King to Fred Shuttlesworth, 4 November 1965, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Fred Shuttlesworth biography, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Brief biography and links to primary sources relating to Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

WSB-TV newsfilm clip of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth reading the terms of a demonstration-ending agreement between African American civil rights demonstrators and white leaders in Birmingham, Alabama, 10 May 1963, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,


Carmichael, S. and M. Thelwell, Ready for revolution: the life and struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), (New York: Scribner, 2003)

Carson, C., In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981)

Forman, J., The Making of Black Revolutionaries, (New York: Macmillan, 1972)

Greenberg, C. K., A circle of Trust: remembering SNCC, (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998)

Hogan, W. C., Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007)

Holsaert, F. S., (ed.) Hands on the freedom plow: personal accounts by women in SNCC, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010)

Kirk, J. A. and J. J. Wallach, Arsnick: the student nonviolent coordinating committee in Arkansas, (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2011)

Lewis, J. with M. D’orso, Walking With the Wind: a memoir of the movement, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998)

Morgan, I. W., and P. Davies, From sit-incs to SNCC: the student civil rights movement in the 1960s, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012)

Sellers, C., and R. L. Terrell, The river of no return: the autobiography of a black militant and the life and death of SNCC, (New York: Morrow, 1973)

Stoper, E., The Student Nonviolent coordinating Committee: the growth of radicalism in a civil rights organization, (Brooklyn: Carlson Pub, 1989)

Zinn, H., SNCC: The New Abolitionists, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964)

Documents relating to SNCC, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

Background information on SNCC, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

The SNCC Legacy Project,

Brief Biography and links to archival repositories relating to Stokely Carmichael, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

FBI files relating to Stokely Carmichael, FBI Vault,

Six years of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,

Department of Defense. “Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).” 1967,

Ella Baker

Bohannon, L. F., Freedom cannot rest: Ella Baker and the Civil Rights Movement, (Greenboro: Morgan Reynolds Pub., 2005)

Grant, J., Ella Baker: Freedom Bound, (New York: Wiley, 1998)

Moye, J. T., Ella Baker: community organizer of the Civil Rights Movement, (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013)

Ransby, B., Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: a radical democratic vision, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003)

Oral History Interview with Ella Baker, 19 April 1977, Interview G-0008, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007),

Oral History Interview with Ella Baker, 4 September 1974, Interview G-0007, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007),

Brief biography and list of primary sources relating to Ella Baker, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Letter from Ella J. Baker to Martin Luther King, Kr., and Ralph Abernathy, 23 March 1960, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Brief biography of Ella Baker, King Encyclopaedia, Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,


Diane Nash

Mullins, L., Diane Nash: the fire of the Civil Rights Movement – a biography, (Miami, Barnhardt & Ashe Pub., 2007)

Brief biography of Diane Nash, King Encyclopaedia, Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Interview with Diane Nash, 12 November 1985, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, Washington University Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection,;cc=eop;rgn=main;view=text;idno=nas0015.0267.075

List of primary sources relating to Diane Nash, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Economic Justice

Ashmore, S. Y., Carry it on: the war on poverty and the civil rights movement in Alabama, 1964-1972, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008)

Carter, D. M., The Music has gone out of the movement: civil rights and the Johnson administration, 1965-1968, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2009)

Clayson, W. S., Freedom is not enough: the war on poverty and the civil rights movement in Texas, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

Freeman, R., In the mule train: a journey of hope remembered, (Rutledge Hill Press: 1998)

Jackson, T. F., From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 2006)

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968)

Kornbluh, F. A., The battle for welfare rights: politics and poverty in modern America, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007)

Lackey, H. L., Marks Mississippi, Martin Luther King, and the Origin of the 1968 Poor People’s campaign Mule Train, (Town Square books: 1999)

McKnight, G., The last crusade: Martin Luther King, Jr., the FBI and the Poor People’s Campaign, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998)

Nadasen, P., Welfare Warriors: the welfare rights movement in the United States, (New York: Routledge, 2005)

Orleck, A., Storming Caesars Palace: how black mothers fought their own war on poverty, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2005)

Piven, F. F., and R. A., Cloward, Poor People’s Movements: why they succeed, how they fail, (New York: Vintage Books, 1979)

Triece, M. E., Tell it like it is: women in the national welfare rights movement, (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2013)

Links to a number of archival repositories containing sources relating to economic justice, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Brief outline and links to primary sources relating to the Poor People’s Campaign, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Biography of the Poor People’s Campaign, King Encyclopaedia, Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

‘Information about the National Welfare Rights Organization’ Pamphlet, The King Center Digital Archive,

‘The Second Phase of Civil Rights: Photographs of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign’, George Mason University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives blog,

Documents From Poverty & Economic Justice Projects, 1964-68, Civil Rights Veterans,

Documents from the Poor People’s Campaign, Civil Rights Veterans,

Documents from Economic Justice Organizations, Civil Rights Veterans,

Memphis Sanitation Workers strike, 1968

Beifuss, J. T., At the river I stand: Memphis, the 1968 strike and Martin Luther King, (Brooklyn: Carlson Pub., 1985)

Green, L. B., Battling the plantation mentality: Memphis and the Black freedom struggle, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007)

Honey, M. K., Going down Jericho Road: the Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s last campaign, (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007)

AFSCME and Martin Luther King, Jr., AFSCME website,

Brief background and links to primary sources relating to the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike 1968, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Volunteer Voices, Tennessee Electronic Library, (contains the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike Collection)

‘At the River I Stand’ (1994), Documentary on the Memphis Garbage Strike 1968, dir. David Appleby, Allison Graham and Steven Ross,

Overview of the events of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Emmett Till

Houck, D. W., and M. A. Grindy, Emmett Till and the Mississippi press, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008)

Hudson-Weems, C., Emmett Till: the sacrificial lamb of the civil rights movement, (Troy: Bedford Publishers, [2000], 1994)

Mace, D., In remembrance of Emmett Till: regional stories and media responses to the Black freedom struggle, (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2014)

Metress, C., The lynching of Emmett Till: a documentary narrative, (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002)

The Emmett Till Case, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library,

FBI records on Emmett Till, FBI Vault,

The Murder of Emmett Till, PBS: American Experience,

The Untold Story of Emmett Till,

The Emmett Till Murder,

Metress, C., “They Stand Accused”: James L. Hicks’s Investigations in Sumner Mississippi, September 1955 from The Lynching of Emmett Till, A Documentary Narrative,

Biography of Emmett Till, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Huie, W. B., ‘‘The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi,’’ Look, 2, No. 2 (24 January 1956)

List of resources relating to Emmett Till, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,


Farmer, J., Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement, (New York: 1985)

Marshall, J. P., Student Activism and Civil Rights in Mississippi: Protest Politics and the Struggle for Racial Justice, 1960-1965, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013)

Meier, A., and E. Rudwick, CORE: A study in the Civil Rights Movement, 1942-1968, (New York: 1973)

Purnell, B., Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: the Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn, (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2013)

Rabby, G. A., Pain and the Promise: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Tallahassee, Florida, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999)

Singler, J., Seattle in Black and white: the Congress of Racial Equality and the fight for equal opportunity, (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011)

Oral history interview with James Farmer by Eugene Pfaff, 10 December 1981, Greensboro Voices Collection, Greensboro Public Library,

Biography of CORE, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Biography of James Farmer, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

James Robinson, Executive Secretary of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) statement on the strategy of the sit-ins [1960], The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

The CORE project,


Freedom Rides

Arsenault, R., Freedom Rides: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Catsam, D., Freedom’s main line: the journey of reconciliation and the Freedom Rides, (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2009)

Etheridge, E., R. Wilkins and D. McWhorter, Breach of peace: portraits of the 1961 Mississippi freedom riders, (New York: Atlas & Co., 2008)

Niven. D., The politics of injustice: the Kennedys, the freedom rides, and the electoral consequences of a moral compromise, (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2003)

Silver, C. R., Freedom rider diary: smuggled notes from Parchman Prison, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014)

FBI files on the Freedom Rides, FBI Vault,

Freedom Riders, PBS,

Freedom Riders Oral Histories, University of Mississippi Libraries Digital Collections – Archives and Special Collections,

Overview and links to primary sources relating to the Freedom Rides, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia

Documents relating to the 1961 Freedom Rides, Civil Rights Movement Veteran,

Voting Rights

Davison, C., and B. N. Grofman, (eds), Quiet Revolution in the South: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-1990, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994)

Garrow, D. J., Protest at Selma: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, (Yale University Press, 2001)

Hudson, D. M., Along Racial Lines: Consequences of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, (Peter Lang Publishing, 1998)

LaFayette, B., and K. L. Johnson, In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma, (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2013)

Parker, F. R., Black Votes Count: Political Empowerment in Mississippi After 1965, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990)

Stanton, M., From Selma to Sorrow: Life and Death of Viola Luizzo, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000)

Vaughn, W., The Selma Campaign, 1963-1965, (Majority Press, 2006)

Documents from Selma Alabama, 1963-1965 and the March to Montgomery, 1965, Civil Rights Veterans,

Brief overview and links to resources relating to the Selma-Montgomery March, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Overview of the Voting Rights Act, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Voting Rights Act (1965),

School Desegregation

Klarman, M. J., From Jim Crow to civil rights: the Supreme Court and the struggle for racial equality, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Patterson, J. T., Brown v. Board of Education: a civil rights milestone and its troubled legacy, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)

Wilkinson, J. H., From Brown to Bakke: the Supreme Court and school integration, 1954-1978, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979)

Brown vs Board of Education, (1954), Library of Congress,

Overview of the Brown ruling, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

‘WSB-TV newsfilm clip of demonstrators protesting against de facto school segregation and of African American leaders Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell speaking in favor of the school boycott in New York City, New York,’ 16 March 1964, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

‘A Child Shall Lead them’, Two Days in September 1957: The desegregation of Nashville Public Schools,

Links to resources relating to school desegregation, Civil Rights Veterans,

Links to resources relating to school desegregation, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Brown vs Board of Education, University of Michigan Library Digital Archive,

Ruby Bridges

Baker, L., The second battle of New Orleans: the hundred-year struggle to integrate the schools, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996)

Bankston, C. L., and S. J. Caldas, A troubled dream: the promise and failure of school desegregation in Louisiana, (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2002)

Bridges, R., Through my eyes, (New York: Scholastic Press, 1999)

Fairclough, A., Race & democracy: the civil rights struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, (Athens: 1995)

Ruby Bridges,

Biography of Ruby Bridges, National Women’s History Museum,

Images of William Frantz Elementary School integration, The Times-Picayune,

‘New Orleans Lifts Ban on Racial Discrimination’, The Spokesman-Review, 15 November 1960,,5340814&dq=new+orleans+william+frantz&hl=en

‘Ruby Bridges, Rockwell Muse, Goes Back to School’, Video footage and interview with Bridges, CBS,

Brief overview and list of resources relating to New Orleans School Integration, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Transcript of an interview with Ruby Bridges, 18 February 1997, PBS,

Bridges, R., ’50 years later, I’m still trying to integrate my school’, Washington Post, 14 November 2010,


Little Rock Central High

Butler, T. R., Lessons from Little Rock, (Center for Arkansas Studies, 2009)

Counts, W.,, Life Is More than a Moment: The Desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High, (Indiana University Press, 1999)

Bates, D., The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir, (University of Arkansas Press, 1987)

Lanier, C. W., and L. Frazier, A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School, (Ballantine, 2009)

Jacoway, E. And C. F. Williams, (eds), Understanding the Little Rock Crisis: An Exercise in Remembrance and Reconciliation, (University of Arkansas Press, 1999)

Beals, M. P., Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High, (Pocket Books, 1994)

Civil Rights: Little Rock School Integration Crisis, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library,

Overview of the Little Rock Crisis, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

List of resources relating to the Little Rock Crisis, Civil Rights Veterans,

Brief overview and links to resources relating to the Little Rock integration crisis, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

James Meredith

Doyle, W., An American Insurrection: James Meredith and the Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, 1962, (Anchor, 2003)

Lambert, F., The Battle of Ole Miss: Civil Rights v. States’ Rights, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Meredith, J. H., and W. Doyle, A mission from God: a memoir and challenge for America, (New York: Atria Books, 2012)

Meredith, J. H., Three Years in Mississippi, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966)

Silver, J. W., Mississippi: the closed society, (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press [1966], 2012)

Overview of Meredith’s enrolment at the University of Mississippi, Civil Rights Veterans,

Ole Miss: 40 years later, NPR,

Overview and list of resources relating to the Ole Miss integration crisis, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

James H. Meredith Oral History Interview, 7 July 1967, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library,

‘Integration at Ole Miss’, Burke Marshall Personal Papers, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library,

Biography of James Meredith, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

White Resistance

Bartley, N. V., The rise of massive resistance, (Baton Rouge: 1974)

Chalmers, D. M., Backfire: how the Ku Klux Klan helped the civil rights movement, (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003)

Chalmers, D. M., Hooded Americanism: The history of the Ku Klux Klan, (New York: 1981)

Katagiri, Y., The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission: civil rights and states’ rights, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001)

McMillen, N., The Citizens’ Council: Organised resistance to the second reconstruction, 1954-1964, (Urbana: 1971)

Webb, C., (ed.), Massive resistance: southern opposition to the second reconstruction, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)

Citizens’ Council Collection, University of Mississippi

Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Online, Mississippi Department of Archives and History,

The Citizen’s Council: the Official Paper of the Citizen’s Council,

List of resources relating to white resistance, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Massive Resistance, Virginia Historical Society,

Biography and links to resources relating to Judge Thomas P. Brady, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

‘Review of Judge Tom P. Brady’s Black Monday’, William D. McCain Pamphlet collection, University of Southern Mississippi Digital Collections,

Mississippi Freedom Summer

Anderson Todd, L., For a Voice and the Vote, My Journey with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2014)

Belfrage, S., Freedom Summer, (New York: Viking Press, 1965)

Burner, E., And gently he shall lead them: Robert Parris Moses and civil rights in Mississippi, (New York: New York University Press, 1994)

Dittmer, J., Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994)

Dray, P., and S. Cagin, We Are Not Afraid: The Story of and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi, (Bantan Books, 1988)

Henry, A., and C. Curry, Aaron Henry: The Fire Ever Burning, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2000)

Holt, L., The Summer That Didn’t End, (New York: William Morrow, 1965)

Johnson, J., (ed.), Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voice of Freedom Summer, (Miami: Miami University Press, 2013)

Martinez, E. S., Letters from Mississippi, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965)

McAdam, D., Freedom Summer, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988)

McCord, W. M., Mississippi: The Long, Hot Summer, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1965)

Mills, N., Like a Holy Crusade: Mississippi, 1964, (Chicago: I.R. Dee, 1992)     Bob Moses

Parker, F. R., Turning Point: The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, (Washington DC: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 1994)

Payne, C. M., I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995)

Rothschild, M. A., A Case of Black and White: Northern Volunteers and the Southern Freedom Summers, 1964-1965, (Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1982)

Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society

Brief overview and list of resources relating to Freedom Summer, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Overview of Freedom Summer, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Overview of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Articles relating to the murder of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, Civil Rights Veterans,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Albert, Peter J., and Ronald Hoffman, We Shall Overcome: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Freedom Struggle, (New York: Da Capo Press, 1993)

Baldwin, Lewis V., The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Boundaries of Law, Politics, and Religion, (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2002)

Baldwin, Lewis V., Toward the Beloved Community: Martin Luther King, Jr., and South Africa, (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 1995)

Branch, Taylor, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988)

Branch, Taylor, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963–1965, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998)

Branch, Taylor, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-1968, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006)

Burrow, Rufus, A Child Shall Lead Them: Martin Luther King Jr., Young People, and the Movement, (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014)

Carson, Clayborne, Martin’s Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.: a Memoir, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Fairclough, A., To redeem the soul of America: the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr., (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987)

Farris, Christine King, Through it All: Reflections On My Life, My Family, and My Faith, (1st Atria Books hardcover ed. New York: Atria Books, 2009)

Garrow, David J., Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, (New York: Vintage Books, 1988)

Garrow, David J., The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.: From “SOLO” to Memphis, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1981)

Hansen, Drew D., The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Speech That Inspired a Nation, (New York: Ecco, 2003)

Harding, Vincent., Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero, (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996)

Herron, Matt, Mississippi Eyes: The Story and Photography of the Southern Documentary Project, (San Rafael: Talking Fingers Publications, 2014)

Honey, Michael K., Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign, (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007)

Ivory, Luther D., Toward a Theology of Radical Involvement: The Theological Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997)

Jackson, Thomas F., From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007)

Jones, Clarence B., and Stuart Connelly, Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Kelen, Leslie G., ed., This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012)

King, Coretta Scott, My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr., (New York: Henry Holt, 1993)

King, Dexter Scott, Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir, (New York: Warner Books, 2003)

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, (New York: Harper, 1958)

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968)

King, Martin Luther, Jr., Why We Can’t Wait, (New York: Harper & Row, 1964)

King, Mary E., Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Power of Nonviolent Action, (Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 1999)

Lewis, David L., King: A Critical Biography, (New York: Praeger, 1970)

Lischer, Richard, The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Word That Moved America, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)

McKnight, Gerald, The Last Crusade: Martin Luther King, Jr., the FBI, and the Poor People’s Campaign, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998)

Miller, Keith D., Martin Luther King’s Biblical Epic: His Final, Great Speech, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012)

Miller, Keith, Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Its Sources, (New York: The Free Press, 1992)

Smiley, Tavis, and David Ritz, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year, (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2014)

Reddick, L. D., Crusader without Violence: a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., (Chicago: 1968)

Sundquist, Eric J., King’s Dream, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009)

Washington, James M., ed., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986)

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University, (including primary sources and an encyclopaedia and a chronology

The King Center,

Martin Luther King, Jr., assassination investigation, Shelby County Register of Deeds,

FBI files on Martin Luther King, Jr., FBI Vault,,%20Jr.

List of primary sources relating to Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,


Black Power Movement

Carmichael, S., and C. V. Hamilton, Black power: the politics of liberation in America, (New York: Random House, 1967)

Jeffries, H. K., Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt, (New York: New York University Press, 2009)

Joseph, P. E., Dark Days, bright nights: from Black Power to Barack Obama, (New York: Basic Civitas, 2010)

Joseph, P. E., The Black power movement: rethinking the civil rights-Black power era, (New York: Routledge, 2006)

Ogbar, J. O. G., Black power: radical politics and African American identity, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004)

Tyson, T. B., Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the roots of Black power, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999)

Van Deburg, W. L., New day in Babylon: the Black power movement and American culture, 1965-1975, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992)

Black Power biography, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

‘Black Power Articles by Freedom Movement Veterans’, Civil Rights Movement veterans,

Malcolm X

Gibson, D. M., A history of the Nation of Islam: race, Islam, and the quest for freedom, (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2012)

Malcolm X, with A. Haley, The autobiography of Malcolm X, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1992)

Marable, M., Malcolm X: a life of reinvention, (New York: Viking, 2011)

Brother Malcolm,

Chronology of key moments in the life of Malcolm X, Malcolm X official website,

Malcolm X biography, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

Letter from Malcolm X to Martin Luther King, Jr., 31 July 1963, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

FBI files on Malcolm X, FBI Vault,

FBI Files of the Nation of Islam, FBI Vault,

‘WSB-TV news film clip of Malcolm X condemning the federal government for not protecting African commenting on violence in Birmingham, Alabama’, 16 May 1963, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

‘WSB-TV news film clip of demonstrators protesting against de facto school segregation and of African American leaders Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell speaking in favor of the school boycott in New York City, New York,’ 16 March 1964, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

‘Malcolm X: Make it Plain’, PBS,

Stokely Carmichael

Carmichael, S., with M. Thelwell, Ready for revolution: the life and struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), (New York: Scribner, 2003)

Carmichael, S., Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism, (New York: Random House, 1971)

Joseph, P. E., Stokely: a life, (New York: Basic Civitas, 2014)

FBI files on Stokely Carmichael, FBI Vault,

Stokely Carmichael address at University of California, Berkley, October 1966, American Rhetoric,

Brief biography and list of resources relating to Stokely Carmichael, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Black Panther Party

Newton, Huey P., Revolutionary suicide, (New York: Penguin Books, [2009] 1974)

‘October 1966 Black Panther Party Platform and Program’, The Sixties Project,

‘A Huey P. Newton Story’, PBS,

‘WSB-TV newsfilm clip of Huey Newton commenting on the possibility of moving the Black Panther Party headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia’, 8 September 1971, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

‘How the Black Panther Party Was Organized, Speech by John Hulet (Chairman, Lowndes County Freedom Organization), May, 1966, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

List of resources on the Black Panther Party, Tufts University Research Guide,

FBI files on the Black Panther Party, FBI Vault,

Social Activism Sound Recording Project: The Black Panther Party, UC Berkeley Library,

Seattle Black Panther Party History and Memory Project, Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, University of Washington,

Sit-in Movement

Chafe, W. H., Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina and the Black Struggle for Freedom, (New York: 1981)

Garrow, D. J., Atlanta, Georgia, 1960-1961: sit-ins and student activism, (Brooklyn: Carlson, 1989)

McCleave, M. P., Hunger pains in our heads: the story of the non-violent student sit-in movement and the Black struggle for equality, (Birmingham, Alabama: Tavine’ra Publishing, 2008)

Oppenheimer, M., The Sit-In Movement of 1960, (Carlson Publishing: 1989)

Brief overview and links to primary sources relating to the Atlanta sit-ins, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Brief overview and links to primary sources relating to the Nashville sit-in movement, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

Links to resources relating to the sit-ins, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

‘Sit-Ins: the Students Report’, CORE Pamphlet, May 1960, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

Overview of the sit-ins of 1960, from “History and Timeline”, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

‘Nashville Sit-ins’, Tennessee4me, Tennessee State Museum,

Greensboro sit-ins website,

Civil Rights Greensboro (digital archive of primary sources and oral histories), University of North Carolina Greensboro – Digital Collections,

Ronald Martin, Robert Patterson, and Mark Martin stage sit-down strike after being refused service at a F.W. Woolworth luncheon counter, Greensboro, Library of Congress, Digital ID: ppmsca 08095,

WSB-TV newsfilm clip of response to the African American civil rights demonstrations in Greensboro, North Carolina, February 1960, Civil Rights Digital Library, University of Georgia,

International Civil Rights Center and Museum,

An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Berg, M., The ticket to freedom: the NAACP and the struggle for Black Political integration, (University Press of Florida, Gainesville: 2005)

Bernstein, P., The first Waco Horror: the lynching of Jesse Washington and the rise of the NAACP, (Texas A & M University Press, College Station: 2005)

Bynum, T. L., NAACP Youth and the fight for black freedom, 1936-1965, (University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville: 2013)

Hughes, L., Fight for freedom: The story of the NAACP, (Norton, New York: 1962)

Janken, K. R., White: The biography of Walter White, Mr. NAACP, (New Press, New York: 2003)

Jonas, G., Freedom’s Sword: the NAACP and the struggle against racism in America, 1909-1969 (Routledge, New York: 2005)

Kellogg, C. F., NAACP: A history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: Vol. 1., 1909–1920, (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore: 1967)

Miller, C. C., Roy Wilkins: leader of the NAACP, (Morgan Reynolds, Greensboro: 2005)

Ovington, M. W., and R. Luker, Black and white sat down together: the reminiscences of an NAACP founder, (Feminist Press at the City University of New York, New York: 1995)

Pitre, M., In the struggle against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900–1957, (Texas A & M University Press, College Station: 1999)

Reed, C. R., The Chicago NAACP and the rise of Black professional leadership, 1910-1966, (Indiana University Press: Bloomington: 1997)

Ryan, Y., Roy Wilkins: the quiet revolutionary and the NAACP, (University Press of Kentucky, Lexington: 2014)

Sartain, L., and K. Verney (eds), Long is the way and hard: one hundred years of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), (University of Arkansas Press: Fayetteville: 2009)

Sartain, L., Borders of equality: the NAACP and the Baltimore civil rights struggle, 1914-1970, (University Press of Mississippi, Jackson: 2013)

St. James, W., NAACP: Triumphs of a pressure group 1909–1980, (New York: 1980)

Sullivan, P., Lift every voice: the NAACP and the making of the civil rights movement, (New Press, New York: 2009)

Wedin, C., Inheritors of the spirit: Mary White Ovington and the founding of the NAACP, (Wiley, New York: 1998)

Wilson, S. K., In search of democracy: the NAACP writings of James Weldon Johnson, Walter White and Roy Wilkins, (1920-1977), (Oxford University Press, New York: 1999)

Brief history of the NAACP,

Brief overview of the NAACP, King Encyclopaedia, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University,

The Crisis Magazine, Official Publication of the NAACP (on GoogleBooks),

NAACP Documents, Civil Rights Veterans,


Women in the movement

Crawford, V. L., J. A. Rouse and B. Woods, (eds), Women in the civil rights movement: trailblazers and torchbearers, 1941-1965, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993)

Curry, C., (ed.), Deep in Our Hearts, Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000)

Gibson Robinson, J. A., and D. J. Garrow, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women who started it: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, (Knoville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987)

Houck, D. W., and D. E. Dixon, Women and the civil rights movement, 1954-1965, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2009)

Little, K. K., You must be from the North: Southern white women in the Memphis civil rights movement, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2009)

Olson, L., Freedom’s daughters: the unsung heroines of the civil rights movement from 1830-1970, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002)

Robnett, B., How long? How long?: African-American women in the struggle for civil rights, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Sartain, L., Invisible activists: women of the Louisiana NAACP and the struggle for civil rights, 1915-1945, (Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge: 2007)

General Histories of the Movement:

Carson, C., The Eyes on the prize: civil rights reader: documents, speeches, and firsthand accounts from the Black freedom struggle, 1954-1990, (New York, 1991)

Dittmer, J., and D. L. McGuire, Freedom rights: new perspectives on the civil rights movement, (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2011)

Dittmer, J., Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994)

Eagles, C. W., (ed.), The Civil Rights Movement in America, (Jackson: 1986)

Fairclough, A., Better day coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000, (New York, 2001)

Fairclough, A., Race & democracy: the civil rights struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972, (Athens: 1995)

Hampton, H., S. Fayer, S. Flynn, Voices of freedom: an oral history of the civil rights movement from the 1950s through the 1980s, (New York, 1990)

Lawson, S. F., and C. M. Payne, Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968, (Lanham: Littlefield Rowman, 1998)

Lyon, D., Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992)

MacAdam, D., and K. Kloos, Deeply Divided: Racial Politics and Social Movements in Postwar America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

Payne, C. M., I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995)

Riches, W. T., The Civil Rights Movement: Struggle and Resistance, (Basingstoke, 3rd edition, 2011)

Transcripts of the PBS Documentary Eyes on the Prize,

Tuck, S. G. N., Beyond Atlanta: the struggle for racial equality in Georgia, 1940-1980, (Athens, 2001)

Tuck, S. G. N., We ain’t what we ought to be: the Black freedom struggle, from emancipation to Obama, (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010)

Weisbrot, R., Freedom bound: a history of America’s civil rights movement, (New York: Norton, 1990)

Williams, J., Eyes on the prize: America’s civil rights years, 1954-1965, (New York: Viking, 1987)

Wofford, H., Of Kennedy and Kings: Making Sense of the Sixties, (New York: 1980)

Young, Andrew, An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America, (New York: HarperCollins, 1996)

Overview of the Civil Rights Era, 1954-1975, Amistad Digital Resource,

Digital Archive Repositories

Unsung Foot Soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement, University of Georgia,

Birmingham Public Library, Digital Collections

Civil Rights Digital Library (University of Georgia)

Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive (University of Southern Mississippi)

Amistad Research Centre

Civil Rights Archive (University of Mississippi)

FBI Records: Civil Rights,

Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement (National Park Services)

Civil Rights Movement Veterans (Tougaloo College)

National Civil Rights Museum

“Without Sanctuary” (Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America)

Center for Digital Story Telling,

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Resource Center Gallery,

The Whole World was Watching: an oral history of 1968

Eyes on the Prize, (PBS includes transcripts of the programme)

Civil Rights Documentation Project

‘Powerful Days in Black and White’

Black Past,

Southern Freedom Movement Web Links, Civil Rights Movement Veterans,

The Walter J. Brown Media Archives Peabody Awards Collection, University of Georgia,

Alabama Department of Archives and History,

Mississippi Department of Archives and History,

Georgia Department of Archives and History,

Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections,

Digital Library of Georgia,

Documenting the American South,

Some US-UK links (more to come)

Gary Younge on the Wales Window – created by John Petts and paid for by ‘the people of Wales’ in memory of the four little girls murdered by a KKK bomb in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963:

The Bristol bus boycott, 1963:

 Tamla Motown Tour of the UK, 1965