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Black History/Civil Rights

This guide provides a good starting point for research regarding Black History and the Civil Rights movement.

Films on Demand Service

There are a number of videos available on this subject, both on the internet and through our available databases. This page features some useful examples. For more, we recommend accessing the Films on Demand database.

Videos

No one grasps the connections between social activism, electoral politics, and racial issues better than Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), perhaps the most prominent living veteran of the American civil rights movement. In 2007, he received the Robert J. Dole Leadership Prize from the University of Kansas and, in conjunction with the award, granted this in-depth interview before a live audience. Rep. Lewis discusses an epic range of topics, including his childhood in segregated Alabama; his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the backstage dilemma over his speech at the finale of the March on Washington; his role in the attempted march from Selma to Montgomery; the ongoing need for social activism today; and more.

This documentary traces the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and the development of his non-violent philosophies over the course of the historic Civil Rights Movement. A political and social context drapes across the story of the African-American plight, determined to find an identity through the war at home and abroad. 

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks was born a granddaughter to former slaves, on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus in December of 1955, spurred a city-wide boycott and unleashed nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities. Her brave and unwavering determination proved monumental. Rosa was prepared to sacrifice everything, making her the role model of Racial Injustice and The First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement. Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became the catalyst that helped launch important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. It inspired all freedom loving people to join together against oppressive laws and governments, racial discrimination and hatred. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. Her determination and perseverance became a focal point with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1964 Congress passed the Civil Rights Act - legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Rosa Parks received many accolades during her lifetime, including the NAACP's highest award the Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom the Congressional Gold Medal. Rosa died in 2005 and was chosen as the first woman ever to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

The horror aroused by Emmitt Till's open casket funeral in Chicago led Jet Magazine to publish photos of the beaten corpse, and to follow the murders' trial.

Myrlie Evers recalls racial tension leading to her husband's death. He was killed by a Citizen's Council member on June 11, 1963 after the president gave a speech on Civil Rights.