The Civil Rights Digital Library promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement by helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials from libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters, and others on a national scale.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in American history. This one law so dramatically altered American society that, looking back, it seems preordained-as Everett Dirksen, the GOP leader in the Senate and a key supporter of the bill, said, no force is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." But there was nothing predestined about the victory: a phalanx of powerful senators, pledging to "fight to the death" for segregation, launched the longest filibuster in American history to defeat it.The bill's passage has often been credited to the political leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, or the moral force of Martin Luther King. Yet as Clay Risen shows, the battle for the Civil Rights Act was a story much bigger than those two men.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds profound differences between black and white adults in their views on racial discrimination, barriers to black progress and the prospects for change. Blacks, far more than whites, say black people are treated unfairly across different realms of life, from dealing with the police to applying for a loan or mortgage. And, for many blacks, racial equality remains an elusive goal.
While the Civil Rights Movement is remembered for efforts to end segregation and secure the rights of African Americans, the larger economic vision that animated much of the movement is often overlooked today. That vision sought economic justice for every person in the United States, regardless of race. It favored production for social use instead of profit; social ownership; and democratic control over major economic decisions. The document that best captured this vision was the Freedom Budget for All Americans: Budgeting Our Resources, 1966-1975: To Achieve Freedom from Want, published by the A. Philip Randolph Institute and endorsed by a virtual who's who of U.S. left liberalism and radicalism. Now, two of today's leading socialist thinkers return to the Freedom Budget and its program for economic justice.
From the beginning, race has been at the heart of the deepest divisions in the United States and the greatest challenges to its democratic vision. Africans were brought to the continent in slavery, American Indian nations were subjected to genocidal wars of conquest, northwestern Mexico was invaded and annexed, Asians were imported as laborers then subjected to exclusionary laws. Black historian W.E.B. DuBois wrote that the history of the 20th Century would be the history of the color line, predicting that anti-colonial movements in Africa and Asia would parallel movements for full civil and political rights for people of color in the United States.
The mission of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is to help renew the civil rights movement by bridging the worlds of ideas and action, to be a preeminent source of intellectual capital within that movement, and to deepen the understanding of the issues that must be resolved to achieve racial and ethnic equity as society moves through the great transformation of the 21st century.