Female Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement

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.

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Asserting Equality: Black Political Activism During Reconstruction

During Black History Month, we honor African Americans who profoundly impacted the course of American history. During Reconstruction—an era that lasted from about 1865 to 1877—African Americans gained new political and legal rights that were implemented with the support of the federal government. A number of activists redefined how blacks participated in American politics, society, and culture, especially in the South. Men like Hiram Revels, Robert Elliot, and Joseph Rainey were part of the vanguard of black political leadership in this period.

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American Civil Liberties Papers, 1912-1990

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.

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Sitting on the Floor of the House

Posted on June 23, 2016 By Debra Kirby The afternoon of June 21st a form of protest popular in the 1960s was employed by advocates for gun control legislation on the floor – literally — of the U.S. House of Representatives, when civil rights icon and Georgia representative John Lewis led his colleagues in a … Read more

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Foundational Influence

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.

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Bring All the Colors of the Rainbow to Your Collection

Posted  on June 7, 2016

By Liz Mason, Vice President, Product, Gale

Searching for an “unparalleled assemblage of newsletters, newspapers, and periodicals by, for, and about gays and lesbians?” Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity, Part 1: LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940 brings together approximately 1.5 million pages of primary sources on social, political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBTQ communities around the world. Rare and unique content from microfilm, newsletters, organizational papers, government documents, manuscripts, pamphlets, and other types of primary sources sheds light on the gay rights movement, activism, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and more.

LGBTQ issues were at the forefront of the news in 2015. A major U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, high-profile transgender celebrity appearances, and many related stories dominated social news. Many media have declared the Rainbow Revolution in full effect. And while LGBTQ resources have been published for many years (the USC library began their collection in 1952), access to materials has been limited and not broadly publicized. In fact, libraries with significant LGBTQ collections remain small in number.

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President John F. Kennedy

Posted on May 23, 2016

By Traci Cothran

The anniversary of JFK’s birth occurs on May 29, and while saying the letters “JFK” evokes vivid scenes and images in minds of adults over forty, it doesn’t mean much to kids in school today.  They may know he was our 35th President, but Camelot, Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, first Catholic President, the Cold War, Jackie O, and JFK’s assassination are likely unknown concepts.

JFK is a broad topic that encompasses many subjects, and here are a few ideas to begin with to get your students (or yourself!) better acquainted with this historic figure:

JFK’s Inauguration

  • “Newsreel of President John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration.” Video. Thought Equity Motion Collections.  Research In Context
  • “JFK’s Inaugural Address.” Research In Context

Peace Corps

Introduction of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964

  • “History Features: Civil Rights Bill.” Video. History Features: Civil Rights Bill. Research In Context

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Get Started Gathering Ideas for Black History Month Lesson Plans

Posted on January 8, 2015

There’s an abundance of historical riches out there, but sometimes you have to know where to look to find the pot of educational gold.  During Black History Month, get high school and undergraduate students to delve a bit deeper and uncover these influential and amazing people who changed lives and generations.  Get the facts from Gale’s In Context database products, relate them to curriculum topics, then follow up with the other multimedia suggested to engage students further.

Civil Rights Movement, US Government, Graphic Novels = John R. Lewis.  This Georgia congressman, serving for 29 years, leads a fascinating life.  Son of a sharecropper, Lewis became one of the six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, served as SNCC chairman, and was one of the original Freedom Riders — all before he was thirty years old. There’s SO much more to discover about this icon, including his publication of two student-friendly graphic novels covering the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March, entitled March: Book One and Book Two.

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Student Challenge: Who Changed the Course of U.S. History without Uttering a Word?

Posted on December 4, 2015

Good question, isn’t it?  Where can students go to find the answer?

Biography In Context for starters, where you’ll find a feature this month on the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks. Her quiet defiance of sitting in a “whites-only” section of a bus on December 1, 1955, galvanized support for the Civil Rights Movement, sparking Freedom Rides, boycotts, and sit-ins. Transport students back in time to visit this tumultuous era in our nation’s history – students can read about Parks and her work, hear her speak in a video, and look at her statue that President Obama unveiled in the Capitol.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and Student Resources In Context covers that legal precedent as well as recent challenges to it. While on the topic, Women’s Suffrage hit the big screen recently, and the fascinating stories behind that movement can be found in US History In Context. Read Susan B. Anthony’s “Speech on the Right of Women’s Suffrage,” from 1873, when she was arrested for the having the audacity to vote!  Look at photos of suffrage parades, read the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments, as well as other primary sources from Carrie Chapman Catt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others.

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