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Though rallies featured national figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and lawsuits were often filed by men, the day-in, day-out on-the-ground organizing and protesting against school segregation was led by mothers who demanded the best possible education for their children. In 1958 in New York City, a group of mothers nicknamed the "Harlem Nine"…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1964

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.
This is the writing prompt for the activity "The Movement Before the Movement: Civil Rights Activism in the 1940s."

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2011

In May 1941, as it became clear that the U.S. would probably be entering World War II, black labor leader A. Philip Randolph and other activists founded the March on Washington Movement (MOWM). They called for a mass march on the nation's capital to protest job discrimination in government financed jobs and segregation in the military. On June 24,…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1941

This worksheet helps students review what they know about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the civil rights movement before more closely examining the role of women and local activists in brining about change. It is designed to go with the activity "Expanding the Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott."

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Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2010

This account from the Norfolk (Virginia) Journal and Guide, an African-American newspaper, describes the CCC's response to the dishonorable discharge of an African-American corpsman who refused to fan flies off of a white officer. After a protest by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), CCC director Robert Fechner…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1934

In his 1941 State of the Union address to Congress, President Franklin Roosevelt identified "four freedoms" (freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, and freedom to practice religion) that the U.S. needed to defend by entering into World War II. For African Americans, the desire to support the war effort was coupled with a need to…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1942

James Sullivan, a state court judge in Massachusetts and colleague of John Adams, was often sympathetic to those who thought women and non-elite men should have a voice in the new nation’s government. Adams disagreed, explaining to Sullivan why men without property and women should be excluded. Some spelling changes and edits have been made…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1776

Throughout the revolutionary era, scores of slaves signed petitions that linked their demands for freedom with the cause of American independence. Below is the text of one such petition presented to the Massachusetts legislature.

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1777

Throughout the revolutionary era, scores of slaves signed petitions that linked their demands for freedom with the cause of American independence. Below is the text of one such petition presented to the Massachusetts legislature.

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1777