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Mississippi Humanities Council
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
The University of Southern Mississippi
Tougaloo College Archives
Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage

photos from the Civil Rights Movement


Timeline

IntroductionTopics
    Boycotts
    
audio-enhancedCivil Rights Groups
audio-enhanced Communism & the Civil      Rights Movement

    Freedom Schools
audio-enhanced Nonviolence &
    Self-Defense

Women & the Movement
audio-enhancedMass Arrests
audio-enhanced Protest Gulf Coast Style

    School Desegregation

audio-enhanced Sympathetic Whites

    Uncle Toms
audio-enhanced Violence
audio-enhancedVoter Registration Drives
audio-enhancedThe Impact of the Movement

audio-enhanced  Audio Available

Introduction

The U.S. Civil Rights Movement ranks as one of the most profound watershed events in world history. While there is much in the areas of race relations and social reform to be accomplished, no informed observer can deny the momentous changes brought about by what most people consider ordinary people. The aim of this project is to shine the spotlight on some of those individuals who courageously gave their lives to the causes of freedom, justice, and equality in what had been touted as being the finest country on earth. Nowhere can these sacrifices be seen more clearly than in the lives of those activists who sought to topple racial, economic, and political inequality in the deep southern state of Mississippi.

After having suffered a long train of abuses from city, county, and state officials (along with an uncounted number of self-appointed defenders of segregation), black Mississippians, with the help of a variety of groups and individuals from throughout the country, built a movement that attacked oppression at its core -- a segregated system that served to maintain inequality between the races. Voter registration campaigns, sit-ins, wade-ins, boycotts, and a host of other direct action tactics emerged from this movement. It was these activities, coupled with the occasional backing of federal authorities, that placed the lives of "outside" protesters and the individuals they sought to help in grave danger. Indeed, many of these activists lost their lives in the endeavor, while others lost their jobs, homes, and families. The extraordinary courage displayed by those who endured these trials and tribulations, however, is a testament to the fact that freedom and equality are not social constructions but the birthright of all human beings. The following timeline offers a glimpse into the lives of those who fought to make this ideal a reality. For a description of just how local the Mississippi movement actually was, listen to Charles Cobb, a Mississippi native who was very active in the movement:

audio Click on the play button to hear the following excerpt.
           Total time: 1 minute, 20 seconds

A piece of my family history in Mississippi has to do with a founding of a community called New Africa in 1888 in the Mississippi Delta. There is a long tradition of this in Mississippi. You know, SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] kind of comes in and CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] kind of comes in at the tail end of a process that really had been unfolding, well, really since Reconstruction. And we kind of come in dramatically as Freedom Riders, riding these Greyhound buses, winding up in Parchman Penitentiary, or as sit-iners in places like Jackson, Mississippi, but get scooped up by these people who had been kind of underground organizers since World War II. And who had inherited the battle from people who had been doing stuff for the state even before then. And they kind of scoop us up. Amzie Moore sits down and they tell Bob Moses, "Look, if you really want to do something, the struggle is voter registration up here, and you have to organize at the grassroots, and here's how you do it."

SNCC field secretary Charles Cobb


2000 Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage
URL: http://www-dept.usm.edu/~mcrohb

Prepared by the
Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage
at The University of Southern Mississippi

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Multimedia Design: Diane DeCesare Ross