This guide is intended to help you begin researching the history of the African American Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
This guide is not comprehensive; it does not list all of the resources on this subject or in related disciplines owned by the Library or available on the Internet. This guide serves merely as a starting point for research.
Need Paper Topic Ideas?
Term Paper Resource Guide to African American History
Call Number: E184.7 .N47 2009
Hundreds of term paper topics and resources to explore.
Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Other Reference Books
What are reference books good for? A lot!
- Verify facts (with more authority than Wikipedia)!
- Browse contextual essays for inspiration in finding a research paper topic.
- Read topical entries to increase your background knowledge of a topic.
- Read essays, topical entries, and bibliographies to refine your topic into a focused research question.
- Quickly access timelines of events, maps, key primary documents, extensive bibliographies (that is, lists of key books and articles on focused topics), and more to supplement your research and help you decide what sources to read next.
- When you're reading primary sources, use a historical dictionary to find definitions of or context for slang words or unfamiliar cultural references.
Civil Rights in the United States
Call Number: E184.A1 C47 2000 vol. 1-2, Reference
Civil Rights Movement: People and Perspectives
Call Number: E185.61 .C6167 2009, Reference
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Civil Rights: From Emancipation to the Twenty-First Century
Call Number: E185.61 .E54 2003 vol. 1-2, Reference
Icons of African American Protest: Trailblazing Activists of the Civil Rights Movement
Call Number: E185.96 .K56 2009 vol. 1-2, Reference
The Martin Luther King, Jr., Encyclopedia
Call Number: E185.97 .K5 M334 2008, Reference
Search with Subject Headings
Subject headings allow you to find books according to broader and narrower topics.
Below are sample subjects. To browse for different, broader, or narrower subjects, go to the library catalog and click "Exact Search." Enter a term and click "subject."
You can start browsing for a broad subject like Civil Rights, then look for more specific subjects, such as Civil Rights Movements United States.
Once you know some subject headings, you can also just use them as keywords during an advanced search, using the subject row.
Browse the Collection
You can browse for books on the history of the black civil rights movement in the U.S. in this call number range:
E184.5 - E185.98 (4th floor)
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Other Books (A Sampling)
The following list represents only a small sampling of books in the Library about the Civil Rights movement. Search for more books about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement...
The Road South: Personal stories of the Freedom Riders
Call Number: Read Online
In May 1961, despite multiple Supreme Court rulings, segregation remained alive and well within the system of interstate travel. All across the American South, interstate buses as well as their travel facilities were divided racially. This blatant disregard for law and morality spurred the Congress of Racial Equality to send thirteen individuals--seven black, six white--on a harrowing bus trip throughout the South as a sign of protest. As a result of the riders sacrifice, by November of 1961, the Interstate Commerce Commission finally put an end to interstate commerce segregation. Join award-winning author B. J. Hollars as he sets out on his own journey to meet them, retracing the historic route and learning the stories of as many surviving riders as he could.
Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi
Call Number: Read Online - Or available in print at E185.93 .M6 M665 2015 (4th floor)
Founded in 1961 to provide aid to the Freedom Riders, the Jackson, Mississippi-based women's organization Womanpower Unlimited expanded its activism to include programs such as voter registration drives, youth education, and participation in Women Strike for Peace. Black women, and Womanpower specifically, were central to movement successes in Mississippi.
Waking from the Dream: The struggle for civil rights in the shadow of Martin Luther King Jr.
Call Number: E185.97 .K5 C455 2014 - 4th floor
Publication Date: 2014
Presents a controversial study of the civil rights movement after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., drawing upon congressional testimony, court cases, press releases, and other sources to document the battle over King's image and legacy.
Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the climactic battle of the civil rights revolution
Call Number: F334.B69 N449 2001 - 4th floor
For All the World to See: Visual culture and the struggle for civil rights
Call Number: NX180 .S6 B47 2010 - 3rd floor
This is the first comprehensive examination of the ways images mattered in the struggle, and it investigates a broad range of media including photography, television, film, magazines, newspapers, and advertising.
Art for Equality: The NAACP's cultural campaign for civil rights
Call Number: Read Online - Or print is available at E185.5 .N276 W66 2014 (4th floor)
Explores an important and little-studied side of the NAACP's activism in the cultural realm. In openly supporting African American artists, writers, and musicians in their creative endeavors, the organization aimed to change the way the public viewed the black community. By overcoming stereotypes and the belief of the majority that African Americans were physically, intellectually, and morally inferior to whites, the NAACP believed it could begin to defeat racism.
Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the making of the civil rights movement
Call Number: E185.5 .N276 S85 2009 - 4th floor
Defying Dixie: The radical roots of civil rights, 1919-1950
Call Number: HN79 .A13 G54 2008 - 4th floor
Sweet Land of Liberty: The forgotten struggle for civil rights in the North
Call Number: E185.9 .S95 2008 - 4th floor
Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement: A Fragile Coalition, 1967-1973
Call Number: E185.61 .L512 2014 (4th floor)
Examines how the coalition among the national African American civil rights organizations disintegrated between 1967 and 1973 as a result of the factionalism that splintered the groups from within as well as the federal government's sabotage of the Civil Rights Movement.
Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry: Loving v. Virginia
Call Number: KF224 .L68 W35 2014 (4th floor)
Tells the story of the Lovings, an interracial couple in Virginia, and the Supreme Court case that finally overturned laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
Captive Nation: Black prison organizing in the civil rights era
Call Number: HV9469 .B467 2014 (4th floor)
Berger offers a bold reconsideration of twentieth century black activism, the prison system, and the origins of mass incarceration. Throughout the civil rights era, black activists thrust the prison into public view, turning prisoners into symbols of racial oppression. The prison shaped the rise and spread of black activism, from civil rights demonstrators willfully risking arrests to the many current and former prisoners that built or joined organizations such as the Black Panther Party.