Fast Background Information: Beyond Wikipedia
Encyclopedias and other reference books provide excellent historical overviews that will help you put topics -- and the historians writing about them -- into context. The resources are a great way to
- Brainstorm ideas
- Narrow an existing topic
- Glean keywords for catalog and database searches
- Leverage bibliographies for the next stage of your research
Take a few minutes to browse the reference books and regular stacks. Call numbers for books about the civil rights movement are typically E184 to E185, JC328, and JC599.
These general encyclopedias may be a good starting point: