Black history: uncovering voices of the Civil Rights Movement

Celebrate Black History Month with the University Libraries.

Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C.

Major collections in the Black Freedom Struggles of the 20th Century include the FBI Files on Martin Luther King Jr.; Centers of the Southern Struggle, an exceptional collection of FBI Files covering five of the most pivotal arenas of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, and more.

Black history: uncovering voices of the Civil Rights Movement

Celebrate Black History Month with the University Libraries.

Major collections in the Black Freedom Struggles of the 20th Century include the FBI Files on Martin Luther King Jr.; Centers of the Southern Struggle, an exceptional collection of FBI Files covering five of the most pivotal arenas of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, and more.

Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C.

Major collections in the Black Freedom Struggles of the 20th Century include the FBI Files on Martin Luther King Jr.; Centers of the Southern Struggle, an exceptional collection of FBI Files covering five of the most pivotal arenas of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, and more.

History is more than events and dates and figureheads. History is the shaping and re-shaping of the story we tell about the past. Through history, we uncover the perspectives and experiences of people who lived through extraordinary times. When done well, history contests the dominant narrative and gives a voice to the oppressed. What better way, then, to celebrate Black History Month than by delving into the first-hand accounts of the Black freedom struggle?

The libraries’ database, Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century, is a trove of primary sources documenting the social unrest of the Civil Rights Movement. The database allows the exploration of two arenas of the social movement: 1) Federal Government Records and 2) Organizational Records and Personal Papers. The Federal Government Records include, among other things, the FBI Files on Martin Luther King Jr. and records from the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. The Organizational Records and Personal Papers include the records of major civil rights organizations, such as the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC), as well as the letters and personal papers of leaders of the Black freedom struggle, such as Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington. Dive into history and help tell the story of our past.

About the University Libraries 

The University Libraries embrace intellectual inquiry and innovation, nurture the production of new knowledge, and foster excellence in learning, teaching and research.  During each academic year, the Libraries welcomes more than 1.2 million visitors across its network of three branch libraries: the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, the DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library and the Savitt Medical Library. Visitors checked-out more than 90,000 items and completed more than 2 million database searches.