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William (Willie) Velásquez founded the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) in 1974. The son of a butcher from San Antonio, Texas, he spent his adult life as a community organizer and political activist. Inspired by the African-American civil rights movement, he sought to inform and empower Mexican Americans about the…

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 2004

In this activity students role play a debate among four African-American leaders at the turn of the century, about what strategy the black community should adopt to achieve full equality in the twentieth century. Students research their roles by reading and analyzing primary sources. This activity can work as a follow-up to viewing the film Up…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2010

In this photograph taken at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, women marchers carry signs supporting a variety of demands.
The Japanese distributed leaflets over the South Pacific that asked, "If Americans are fighting for the freedom and equality of all people, why aren't Negro Americans allowed to play big league baseball?" Ben Davis, an African-American candidate for New York City Council in 1945, adopted this question in his campaign: "The Japanese propaganda…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1945

In this activity, students are assigned roles as different members of early American society and move to different areas of the classroom according to whether they could always/sometimes/never exercise different rights in the 1770s and 1780s. This activity helps students understand different rights and privileges and helps set up the document-based…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2010

What exactly should be done for freedmen, if anything, was hotly debated in the years following the Civil War. As this exchange between a Union military officer and a former slave in Arkansas shows, even the meaning of freedom was up for grabs.

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1867

Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to complete a college degree. Terrell, an educator and activist, also founded the National Association of Colored Women. The National Association was organized into many local chapters. Members founded kindergartens, orphanages and boarding houses and schools where young women could…

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 1902

The most influential public critique of Booker T. Washington’s policy of racial accommodation and gradualism came in 1903 when black leader and intellectual W.E.B. DuBois published an essay in his collection The Souls of Black Folk with the title “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others.” DuBois rejected Washington’s…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1903

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…
In this forward to Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside the South 1940-1980, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham sketches an outline of the contributions of African Americans from the Northeast, West Coast and Midwest in shaping the Civil Rights Movement. She questions many of the assumptions of previous scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement,…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 2003