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This guide is designed to supplement the DiPietro Library book display celebrating Black History Month (February).
On May 12, 2009, the U. S. Congress authorized a national initiative by passing The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-19). The law directed the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to conduct a national survey of existing oral history collections with relevance to the Civil Rights movement to obtain justice, freedom and equality for African Americans and to record and make widely accessible new interviews with people who participated in the struggle. The project was initiated in 2010 with the survey and with interviews beginning in 2011.
On the Civil Rights Memorial are inscribed the names of individuals who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom during the modern Civil Rights Movement - 1954 to 1968. The martyrs include activists who were targeted for death because of their civil rights work; random victims of vigilantes determined to halt the movement; and individuals who, in the sacrifice of their own lives, brought new awareness to the struggle.
Be inspired by the men and women of the African American Civil Rights Movement. Each of the features below is a window into a documentary or program about these momentous figures,including rare interviews with Martin L. King Jr and Malcolm X. The features will connect you directly to the website of a PBS partner where it can be viewed in full or allow you to watch a preview directly within the collection below. Get started now. Venture back into history with PBS to explore the men and women of The Civil Rights Movement.
Through nonviolent protest, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s broke the pattern of public facilities’ being segregated by “race” in the South and achieved the most important breakthrough in equal-rights legislation for African Americans since the Reconstruction period (1865–77). Although the passage in 1964 and 1965 of major civil rights legislation was victorious for the movement, by then militant black activists had begun to see their struggle as a freedom or liberation movement not just seeking civil rights reforms but instead confronting the enduring economic, political, and cultural consequences of past racial oppression.
The main leaders of the March on Washington were A. Philip Randolph (who had initiated the idea), the heads of the five key civil rights organizations, plus longtime activist Bayard Rustin. Each one played an important part in America's struggle for civil rights. Letters and articles sent to the president and his staff by these seven leaders provide insights into their individual personalities and viewpoints, and into the roles of the different organizations. Telegrams, which were often sent at times of crisis and decision, vividly capture the urgency of the moment.
Black History Month is our time to highlight and reflect on those who have made significant contributions to the black community. These notable civil rights leaders changed the course of history through their activism. Some, like Martin Luther King Jr., are household names. Others, like Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the March on Washington, are unsung heroes. Their names may not be included in every history textbook, but their contributions to the fight for equality are important to recognize and remember.
By the mid-20th century, African Americans had had more than enough of prejudice and violence against them. They, along with many whites, mobilized and began an unprecedented fight for equality that spanned two decades.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network is a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.
The ACLU and MediaJustice filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI, demanding that it turn over documents related to the modern-day surveillance of Black activists and Black-led organizations, including through the bureau’s fabrication of a “Black Identity Extremist” threat category that is based on racial stereotypes rather than evidence of a true security threat.
There are thousands and thousands of brave men and women who have fought against racial oppression in US history. Today, the field of black activism is more robust and powerful than ever, spanning all facets of society, driven by the understanding that the US remains a deeply unjust and unequal place, but sustained, ultimately, by the hope that change can be made.