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Black History Month

2014: Civil Rights in America

The theme for Black History Month 2014 is "Civil Rights in America."  An exhibit in the Learning Commons @ Perry Library features some early African-American organizations and movements that fought for civil rights and information about the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - 50 years ago.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

from Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Early Organizations

Through the years, people of African descent have formed organizations and movements to promote equal rights.  A few such groups are represented here.

-- Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Link to further information about the movements.

Colored Convention Movement, 1830-1864

Afro-American League, 1887-1893

Afro-American Council898-1907

Niagara Movement, 1905-1910

National Council of Negro Women, 1935-present

Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 1957-present


1964 Civil Rights Act

Web links for more information:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Includes the Act and information about its passage)

Major Features of the Civil Rights of 1964

The Civil Rights Act

Books Available in the ODU Libraries

Abel, Elizabeth. Signs of the times: the visual politics of Jim Crow. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. E185.61 .A164 2010.

Berry, Mary Frances. And justice for all : the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the continuing struggle for freedom in America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. JC599.U5 B45 2009.

Davis, Angela Y. The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues. New York : City Lights Publishers, 2012. E-Book

Dulles, Foster Rhea. The Civil Rights Commission, 1957-1965. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1968. JC599.U5D8.

Finley, Keith M. Delaying the dream: southern senators and the fight against civil rights, 1938-1965. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008. E185.61 .F485 2008.

Fischer, Klaus P. America in White, Black, and gray: the stormy 1960s. New York: Continuum International Pub. Group, 2006. E841 .F49 2006.

Howard, John R. The Supreme Court and civil rights from Reconstruction to Brown. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999. KF4757 .H69 1999.

Kotz, Nick. Judgment days : Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the laws that changed America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. E847.2 .K67 2005.

Loevy, Robert D., Ed. The Civil Rights Act of 1964: the passage of the law that ended racial segregation. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997. KF4757 .C59 1997.

Loevy, Robert D. To end all segregation: the politics of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Lanham: University Press of America, 1990. E185.61.L687 1990.

Luders, Joseph E. The civil rights movement and the logic of social change. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. E185.61 .L82 2010.

Muse, Benjamin. The American Negro revolution; from nonviolence to black power, 1963-1967. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1968. E185.615.M83.

Shull, Steven A. American civil rights policy from Truman to Clinton: the role of presidential leadership. Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, 1999. E185.615 .S497 1999.

Whalen, Charles W. and Barbara Whalen. The longest debate: a legislative history of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Washington, D.C.: Seven Locks Press, 1985. KF4756.A315A168 1985.

Photos from the exhibit

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