Civil Rights

Though the fight for civil rights in the United States goes back to at least the 1800s, the biggest strides were made during the the 1950s and 1960s, especially for African Americans. This civil rights movement of the mid-20th century saw protests and boycotts effect legislative change, largely through non-violent methods. Though the civil rights movement is often used to refer to the struggle of African Americans, other segments of the population, such as migrant farm workers, also fought for rights and protections during this time.

Explore the topics below to learn more about this period through newspaper articles and clippings.

Headlines from the Birmingham Church Bombing (The Journal-News, via Newspapers.com)

Birmingham Church Bombing

The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was an act of white supremacist terrorism which occurred at the African American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday, September 15, 1963, when four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the steps located …Read More

Cesar Chavez, 1976

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez (March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was a Mexican-American union leader, labor organizer, and civil rights activist who is best known for his efforts to improve working conditions for migrant farm workers in California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida. During his childhood, Chavez moved with his family from Arizona to California, where they …Read More

Martin Luther King Jr., 1964

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a leading figure in the American civil rights movement noted for his support of non-violence and civil disobedience. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929. In 1955, while working as a Baptist minister in Montgomery, Alabama, he led a successful year-long boycott of the city’s segregated bus lines. In …Read More

Newspaper headlines announcing the end of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Asbury Park Press, via Newspapers.com)

Montgomery Bus Boycott

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. It was a seminal event in the Civil Rights Movement. The campaign lasted from December 5, 1955—the Monday after Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to …Read More

Rosa Parks, circa 1955

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist best known for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, Rosa Parks grew up living with her mother and grandparents in Pine Level, Alabama. She was forced to quit school at age …Read More