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This photograph was published in a report chronicling the intimidation and violence towards African-American voting activists. As the original photo caption notes, police documented voters as they entered courthouses so that the "evidence" could later be used to identify them to employers and landlords for possible firing and eviction. The report…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1964

In this lesson students will examine three documents about the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956) to determine the importance of local activists, especially women, in the civil rights movement. This lesson might serve as an introduction to a unit on the civil rights movement.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2010

This timeline tracks the series of events surrounding the Memphis sanitation workers' strike that began in February, 1968, including the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his assassination the following day.

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: Circa 1968

Women and African Americans were demanding the rights of citizenship in the 1850s. At an 1851 women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio Sojourner Truth rose and asked the president, "May I say a few words?" She then conveyed to the audience a powerful interpretation of both struggles.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the conclusion of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. Delivered in the rhetorical tradition of the African-American church, the speech is hailed as a masterpiece, epitomizing King's eloquent and powerful…
John Lewis, the 23-year-old chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) drafted the speech excerpted below for the 1963 March on Washington. When copies of the speech were circulated in advance, march organizers, as well as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, objected to his strong rhetoric and criticisms of the federal…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1963

This poster, from A. Philip Randolph's planned March on Washington in 1941, illustrates several issues central to the march. The threat of a large-scale public protest persuaded President Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802, which banned racially motivated employment discrimination in federal government and the defense industry.
The three murdered civil rights workers from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project are pictured on this FBI "missing" poster. On June 21st, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were abducted and killed by Klansmen in an effort to intimidate volunteers working to register black voters. Their badly beaten bodies were found weeks…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1964

This billboard advertisement, dating from the early 1940s, suggests the common ground shared by the labor and civil rights movements. Created by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the more progressive of the country's two main labor federations, the billboard urges support for Roosevelt's Fair Employment Practices Committee legislation…

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Item Type: Advertisement
Date: Circa 1941

Prior to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, many southern (and some western) states had devised "literacy tests" and other voting requirements whose primary purpose was to deny African Americans the vote. The tests consisted of written and oral questions about often-obscure aspects of state law and the United States Constitution. They…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1965