During Black History Month, we celebrate African Americans who made impactful contributions to American history. One of the most important developments of the twentieth century was the civil rights movement. Many Americans, both black and white, fought for equality in access to voting, education, housing, and public spaces for African Americans. Most of the best-known civil rights leaders of this period were male, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and John Lewis. However, many women also made significant contributions, including Fannie Lou Hamer, Pauli Murray, and Dorothy Height. Because of their efforts, black Americans, especially in the South, gained new legal rights and freedoms.
During Black History Month, we remember monumental events that have profoundly changed the United States and impacted the lives of many Americans. One key event in American history is the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. In this Supreme Court case, public schools were ordered desegregated in a unanimous verdict. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) played an important role in Brown v. Board of Education, ensuring that “separate but equal” would no longer apply to educational facilities. Though public education was not fully desegregated by the decision, it began a series of legal victories for the burgeoning civil rights movement and defined constitutional support for racial equality.
Since its inception the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken part in some of the most contentious legal battles in American history. The ACLU has once again become a central figure in a contentious legal battle following their objections to the recent Executive Order restricting immigration from 7 countries. The ACLU has a long history of fighting restrictions on immigration they deem in violation of civil liberties. The documents below found in the American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1990 are several examples of the ACLU’s past involvement in issues surrounding immigration.
Behind the scenes access to the most influential court cases of the twentieth-century
Part of the Making of Modern Law series, American Civil Liberties Papers, 1912-1990 gives researchers access to the more than 2 million documents contained in the records of the American Civil Liberties Union at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript library at Princeton University. As part of the Gale Primary Sources platform the American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1990 can be integrated with complementary primary source collections to allow users to make eye-opening research discoveries.
Published on June 9, 2016
By Debra Kirby
I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) on my daily commute. A series on All Things Considered called Generational Politics, which aired in June and which explored the events that shaped the political views of three different generations – 25, 45, and 65 year olds – got me thinking about what most influenced my views, political and beyond. Looking back it is no surprise that having spent some of my most formative years in the 1960s in Detroit, the events related to the Civil Rights Movement played a major role in shaping my beliefs, ideas and character. To this day, I feel privileged to have witnessed that exciting and often turbulent time – even though my parents refused, despite my most earnest and compelling arguments, to let their pre-teen daughter travel by bus to Washington, DC to actually participate in the historic events. The anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 this July 2 provides the perfect opportunity to go beyond the more commonly known facts surrounding this historic act and the events and people who made it happen.
For example, did you know?
- John Robert Lewis, civil rights movement veteran and U.S. Congressman from Georgia since 1986, was the only living speaker from the March on Washington present at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. After the ceremony, Lewis asked Obama to sign a commemorative photograph for him. The new president signed the photo with the message, “Because of you, John. Barack Obama.” — Biography In Context.