Postwar America (1946-1975)
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Fannie Lou Hamer grew up as one of 20 children born to sharecroppers in rural Mississippi. She and her husband were eking out a living as sharecroppers near Ruleville when, at the age of 44, she decided to attend a mass meeting about voting in 1962. Hamer quickly became a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee's voting rights…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1964

This ballot was designed for students and teachers to evaluate exhibits created for the "Design an Exhibit for a Freedom Museum" activity.

Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2010

The March on Washington and other demonstrations finally brought Congress close to passing a sweeping civil rights bill in 1964. At the last moment, and to the surprise of many, "sex" was added to the clause that would prevent employment discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin. The addition of gender, however, threatened…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1964

Dorothy Height became active in civil rights causes in the 1930s, working towards anti-lynching legislation, desegregation of the military, and other issues. In 1957 she was elected the president of the National Council of Negro Women, and was the only woman in the early 1960s to participate in the United Leadership Council, with Martin Luther…
Seattle's open housing advocates had been organizing and protesting for nine years when the city finally passed an open housing ordinance in 1968. Both the local ordinance and the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 were passed partly in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April; leaders hoped to quell further urban riots and…

Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1968

Though civil rights workers in Mississippi have often been characterized as young college students, both black and white, from out-of-state, the hard work of bringing potential voters to polls was usually done by local black Mississippians of all ages. One such activist was M.A. Phelps, a grassroots worker who wrote this letter to Robert L.T.…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1962

A coalition of activists led by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) initiated a statewide direct-action voter registration and education campaign in Mississippi. Although most remembered for 1964's Freedom Summer, when black and white college students traveled south to participate, SNCC's campaign started in 1961. Organizers…

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Item Type: Quantitative Data
Date: 1966

Pauli Murray entered law school in 1941 with the "single-minded intention of destroying Jim Crow." Murray and her peers, though on the frontlines of civil rights demonstrations and behind the scenes of many organizational meetings since the 1940s, had grown disenchanted with their exclusion from the Movement's leadership. Especially humiliating…
The Democratic Party political machine notoriously ruled Chicago, distributing jobs and city services in exchange for political support. James Bevel, the director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's direct action campaigns, was a veteran strategist of sit-ins, Freedom Rides, the Birmingham Children's Crusade, the Mississippi Freedom…
Chicago's School Board insisted that its overcrowded schools were not segregated and that there was no pattern of discrimination against black students. Activists in the 1950s and 1960s produced numerous reports that proved otherwise, documenting gerrymandered districts that kept black students in schools with over 90% black populations and…

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Item Type: Map
Date: 1962