Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)   go to audio


While this interracial organization was founded in 1942, it flourished during the early and mid-1960s. Initially engaging in sit-in and picketing campaigns to "desegregate public accommodations in northern cities," CORE eventually became a participant in the Freedom Rides, Freedom Summer, and the Black Power Movement. Using its organizing skills to register voters and to gain national attention for civil rights activists, this organization helped to break down a number of legal barriers that for decades had prevented blacks and other minorities from exercising their constitutional rights. Civil rights activist Matt Suarez pointed out that CORE worker "George Raymond is the one [that] went on the plantation up there, got Fannie Lou Hamer, and brought her off."

CORE workers look at car that's been shot through the grill

CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) workers look at a car that's been shot through the grill.

From the Paul B. Johnson Collection, McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi.


audio Click on the play button to hear the following excerpt.        Total time: 31 seconds

Yeah. You have to understand that I guess the only way the general public could relate to it is to understand a gang-related kind of thing. You know, where you give up everything else, and you become a member of the gang. And you're there all day, every day, all night, every night. And that's the way it was. It became my life.

--Matt Suarez was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. There, he joined the civil rights movement by working with both SNCC and CORE. He later moved to Mississippi and helped to organize the movement there. Suarez was the first state director of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.



audioClick on the play button to hear the following excerpt.       Total time: 55 seconds

Yes. I was very impressed with Mike. Mike was brave, and he was a very smart young man. And he taught us a lot of things. He taught us how to, you know, protect ourselves. And he just gave us advice on how people think, and, no matter what color you are, it's what you think of yourself. You know. And he explained why he was here, and just how things had to be changed in order for things to get better for us. That, you know, we had to make some of those changes, and sometimes it means, you know, you give up your life for it. You know. But if you strongly mean that, you know, what you believe in, then you're willing to do that.

-- Ms. Estelle Harvey was born on a farm near Lexington, Mississippi. She attended movement meetings in the 1960s and hosted some of the white, Northern college students who volunteered in the Freedom Summer Project.