As commemorations of Freedom Summer and the 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act take place, the Amistad Research Center reminds everyone of an excellent resource for primary source documents on the Civil Rights Movement — the online digital collection “Print Culture and the Civil Rights Movement, 1950-1980.” This digital collection is an expansion of the exhibition “The Revolution Will Not Be…: Print Culture of the Civil Rights Movement” held at the Amistad Research Center in 2011. As the nation’s oldest, largest, and arguably most comprehensive independent archives/library documenting the modern Civil Rights Movement, the Amistad Research Center has brought together digitized documents from a variety of archival collections, including the papers of activists such as John O’Neal, Fannie Lou Hamer, Clarie Collins Harvey, Connie Harse, John Lee Tilley, as well as the Eric Steele Wells collection, the Center’s own ephemera collection, and other sources. Access to the digital collection is free and can be found via the Louisiana Digital Library or through the portal of the Tulane University Digital Library.
This project highlights the newspapers, posters, broadsides, pamphlets, fliers, and other printed ephemera produced by student and community groups, leading civil rights organizations, and individuals, which documented a revolutionary era. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States coincided with rapid changes in a variety of news and communications media. The expansion of television and documentary film-making brought images of the struggles of African Americans and those who supported civil rights into the homes of the American populace. However, control of the tone and content of electronic media was not always in the hands of those who were being documented. It was the democratization of various printed media that allowed civil rights leaders, workers, and organizations to circulate their combined, and sometimes contradictory, voices.
Students, teachers, researchers, and others are encouraged to contact the Center’s Reference Department regarding this digital collection and related materials on the Civil Rights Movement held at Amistad. For more information, please visit the Center’s website.
Posted by Christopher Harter
(Photos from the Amistad Research Center. May not be reproduced without permission.)