This guide lists databases to help you get started on your Civil Rights Movement research assignment. Databases for all topics are below. Find additional databases for different areas of study through the tabs on the left.
General Databases for Starting Research on the Civil Rights Movement
Bring the pivotal events of the civil rights movement in 1963 to life through more than 230 primary sources ranging from film footage of the March on Washington and letters from youth advising the president to JFK’s landmark address to the American people and secret recordings of behind-the-scenes negotiations on civil rights legislation.
BCRI is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding and appreciation for the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham with an increasing emphasis on the international struggle for universal human rights. BCRI is a “living institution” that views the lessons of the past as crucial to understanding our heritage and defining our future.
There are moments in our nation’s history when individuals unite and take courageous steps to fulfill the promise of democracy. One hundred years separate the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington. Yet, these two events are profoundly linked together in a larger story of liberty and the American experience. Both were the result of people demanding justice. Both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. In both, we take inspiration from those who marched toward freedom.
The Civil Rights Digital Library promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement by helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials from libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters, and others on a national scale. The CRDL features a collection of unedited news film from the WSB (Atlanta) and WALB (Albany, Ga.) television archives held by the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries. The CRDL provides educator resources and contextual materials, including Freedom on Film, relating instructive stories and discussion questions from the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, and the New Georgia Encyclopedia, delivering engaging online articles and multimedia.
Through the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, The University of Southern Mississippi has been collecting and preserving the stories of Mississippians since 1971. The Civil Rights Documentation Project highlights the history of the civil rights movement and those who participated or were affected by those events.
Civil Rights Greensboro provides access to archival resources documenting the modern civil rights era in Greensboro, North Carolina, from the 1940s to the early 1980s. During this formative period, Greensboro was an epicenter of activity, continuing a tradition that traces its roots back to the 19th century when members of the area's large Quaker population provided stops on the Underground Railroad. This site houses approximately 125 oral history transcripts that formerly comprised the Greensboro VOICES website.
The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material related to civil rights, including photographs, documents, and sound recordings. This guide compiles links to civil-rights resources throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on civil rights and a bibliography containing selections for both general and younger readers.
This program listed the events scheduled at the Lincoln Memorial during the August 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The highlight of the march, which attracted 250,000 people, was Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
This multi-media web site brings the vital history of Seattle's civil rights movements to life with scores of video oral histories, hundreds of rare photographs, documents, movement histories, and personal biographies, more than 300 pages in all. Based at the University of Washington, the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is a collaboration between community groups and UW faculty and students.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the Center works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.
Founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, the SPLC is internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups. Our innovative Teaching Tolerance program produces and distributes – free of charge – documentary films, books, lesson plans and other materials that promote tolerance and respect in our nation’s schools.
The Library's [Library of Congress] photographs, film footage, newspapers, magazines, manuscripts, and music holdings chronicle this period better than any other collection in existence. In addition to the NAACP and NUL papers, the Library also holds papers of civil rights activists such as Thurgood Marshall, Roy Wilkins, Patricia Roberts Harris, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Mary Church Terrell, Robert Terrell, Nannie Helen Burroughs, and others. Although the quest may not be fully realized, the Library's collections document the relentless and significant process of pursuing full equality.
The UNC Center for Civil Rights is committed to the advancement of civil rights and social justice, especially in the American South. It fosters empirical and analytical research, sponsors student inquiry and activities and convenes faculty, visiting scholars, policy advocates and practicing attorneys to confront legal and social issues of greatest concern to racial and ethnic minorities, to the poor and to other potential beneficiaries of civil rights advances. The Center's work focuses on education, housing and community development, economic justice and voting rights.