Research Library

Find resources that will broaden your personal and global perspective on civil and human rights movements and eras.

From the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s to global human rights movements happening right now — peruse our recommended resources on a variety of related topics.

Our Global Defenders Mural

This installation lives in the atrium of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and presents a new set of cultural heroes for our time. This mural signifies a global movement of champions fighting side-by-side for human rights

Learn more about the Global Defenders mural and other campaigns by The People’s Portfolio here.

Stories

Basem Fathy

Basem Fathy

An advocate for justice and equality on the playground of his grade school, he honed his knowledge of global social movements and used the tactics of non-violent change as an

Glory Afi Kilanko

Glory Afi Kilanko

A pursuer of justice for all humans, she has committed her life’s work to working for the rights of the oppressed, poor, and disfranchised women in Africa. Since age 13

Jessica Colotl

Jessica Colotl

A Mexican student who migrated to the US seeking the American dream with her family when she was ten, she was discovered to be an undocumented immigrant when stopped by

Charles Cobb Jr.

Charles Cobb Jr.

As a college student in 1962, he joined the civil right movement in the Mississippi Delta, where he stayed as an organizer. Understanding that access to education is a fundamental

African-American Firsts

1944

  • Miami hires first Negro police
  • United Negro College Fund founded
  • Dizzy Gillespie pioneers bebop jazz
  • Smith v. Allwright – Supreme Court rules against Democratic Party of Texas on Negro voting rights issue

1945

  • First issue of Ebony magazine
  • Todd Duncan, first Negro member of New York City Opera

1946

  • Richmond hires first Negro police Paul Robeson founds
  • Crusade to End Lynching
    Morgan v. Virginia – Supreme Court rules against segregated seating on buses
  • King v. Chapman – U.S. Circuit Court rules that Negroes should be allowed to vote in Georgia Democratic Primary

1947

  • Paschal’s restaurant opens in Atlanta
  • Jackie Robinson, first Negro Major League baseball player
  • Don Barksdale, first Negro All-American basketball player
  • All-Negro Comic, first comic book produced by Negroes

1948

  • President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, ending segregation in the armed services
  • Alice Coachman, first Negro woman to win an Olympic gold medal
  • Sipuel v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma – Supreme Court rules University of Oklahoma Law School cannot deny admission based on race
  • Shelly v. Kraemer – Supreme Court rules that racially restrictive property agreements violate the 14th Amendment
  • Truman administration proposes legislation to make lynching a federal crime and end segregation on interstate transportation, but neither bill is brought to a vote in Senate

1949

  • Edward R. Dudley, first Negro ambassador of the United States
  • Jackie Robinson, first Negro to win an MVP award
  • William Grant Still, first Negro composer to have his work performed by major U.S. opera company

1950

  • Gwendolyn Brooks, first Negro to win Pulitzer  Prize
  • Ralph Bunche, first Negro to win Nobel Peace Prize
  • Ethel Waters, first Negro star of TV sitcom
  • Nat King Cole, first solo Negro singer to have #1 hit on Billboard Charts
  • Chuck Cooper, Nathaniel Clifton, and Earl Lloyd, first Negro NBA players McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents – Supreme Court rules against  discrimination
  • Sweatt v. Painter – Supreme Court rules against University of Texas Law School’s separate-but-equal policies
    Henderson v. United States – Supreme Court abolishes segregated railroad dining cars

1951

  • Duke Slater, first Negro named to College Football Hall of Fame
  • Georgia state legislature votes to deny funds to schools that integrate

1952

  • Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man published
  • In Michigan, Cora Brown becomes first Negro woman elected to a state senate
  • Supreme Court hears first arguments in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

1953

  • Willie Thrower, first Negro quarterback to play in the NFL
  • District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co., Inc. – Supreme Court rules against segregation in Washington, D.C. restaurants
  • Supreme Court orders re-argument in Brown v. Board of Education

1954

  • Dorothy Dandridge is first Negro woman nominated for Best Actress Academy Award, and to appear on the cover of Life magazine
  • Charles V. Bush, first Negro page for the Supreme Court
  • Hernandez v. Texas – Supreme Court rules that Mexican Americans and other races are entitled to equal protection under the law
  • In response to the Brown v. Board ruling, Mississippi adds amendment to its state constitution, abolishing  public schools