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Tutt Library Research Guides


HY200 Student Activism in the Civil Rights Movement: Primary Sources

U.S. Civil Rights Primary Sources

  • Amistad Digital Resource: Civil Rights Era
  • Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive
    The Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive is an Internet-accessible, fully searchable database of digitized versions of rare and unique library and archival resources on race relations in Mississippi.
  • Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky
    This online database/catalog provides access to audio and video excerpts, and over 10,000 pages of transcriptions, all of which are full-text searchable and can be sorted by county, by subject or by decade. At present 122 interviews are represented in this database.
  • Crossroads Home
    Crossroads to Freedom connects the world with Memphis history through an archive of documents, newspapers, images and oral histories. Our goal is to empower Memphians to tell the stories of our city and region as a vital aspect of participation in the future of our community.
  • Freedom House Collection -- Roxbury, Massachusetts
    This collection, featuring images from 1950-1975, highlight the group's efforts to integrate the neighborhood and desegregate the local schools. People appearing in the images include Martin Luther King, Jr., Senator Edward Kennedy, and Kitty Dukakis.
  • Freedom Riders
    Part of the American Experience series developed by PBS, this site provides extensive information about the civil rights activists who rode interstate buses from May until November 1961 in order to challenge segregation in America. Includes full episode and biographies of individuals involved.
  • Library of Congress' Civil Rights Resource Guide:
    External Web Sites (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). MORE websites!
  • Martin Luther King Papers Online
    From the The Archive of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
  • Rochester Black Freedom Struggle Online Project
    The University of Rochester Libraries has created this fine online project to bring together organizational papers, images, oral histories, and ephemera related to Rochester's black freedom experience in the 1960s and 1970s. Visitors can click on the "Oral Histories" area to look over and listen to snippets from some of the interviews conducted in 2008, including talks with police officers, businessman, and local religious leaders.
  • Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project
    The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is based at the University of Washington.
  • Television News of the Civil Rights Era
    University of Virginia Library. Virginia Center for Digital History. “An archive containing film footage from the nightly news from two local television stations in Virginia. Included are clips of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, the governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as segments documenting school desegregation, public meetings, local debates over civil rights matters, and interviews with citizens.”
  • Wednesdays in Mississippi: Civil Rights as Women's Work
    Northern women of different races and faiths traveled to Mississippi to develop relationships with their southern peers and to create bridges of understanding across regional, racial, and class lines.

What is a Primary Source?

Video produced by the University of California, San Diego's Social Sciences & Humanities Library.

Online Sources

Civil Rights Online Collections

Project Websites, Blogs, Wikis

Evaluating Primary Sources

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages from Cornell University offers an excellent guide for evaluating primary sources. 

Find These Books @ Tutt Library

Learn More About Primary Sources

Primary Sources at Yale defines and explains the importance of primary sources along with a series of questions for evaluating documents.

The National History Day Research Roadmap provides a good discussion about the definition and use of primary sources.

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