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PeopleSpot > Civil Rights Activists

Civil Rights Activists

Learning about the struggle for civil rights is no longer restricted to history books and once-a-year displays in libraries. There are so many Internet sites related to the cause that it's hard to know where you can learn the basics. Begin with the people.

Penny Weaver, communications coordinator at the Southern Poverty Law Center, listed the names of nine people who were the backbone the movement. Researching the lives of these people will help us understand the struggle for civil rights. If we take the time to learn about their lives, they can enrich our own.

They are, in no specific order:

  • Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Many people think about this man when they hear the words "civil rights." Read more about King's life and work at the National Park Service's Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and the Nobel Prize Internet Archive.

  • Rosa Parks
    Time named Parks one of the Heroes & Icons of the 20th Century and extols the courage of this pioneer of the civil rights movement. RosaParks.org offers a detailed biography and works by the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute. Rosa Parks Portal is also a rich source for online links about her life.




  • Medgar Evers
    Medgar Evers fought, and eventually died for, desegregation and voting rights for African-Americans. The Evers biography page maintained by the University of Mississippi offers links to his speeches, bibliographical sources and movies about his life.

  • Harry T. Moore
    Moore was the first NAACP official to die as part of the struggle for civil rights. This PBS special, entitled "Freedom Never Dies: The Story of Harry T. Moore," explores the life and violent death of this civil rights crusader.

  • Rep. John Lewis
    Lewis was a co-leader of the march on Selma, Ala., a pivotal moment in the struggle for civil rights. The U.S. Conference of Mayors provides several quotes by Lewis. He is now a member of the House of Representatives, which features his biography.

  • Fannie Lou Hamer
    The National Women's Hall of Fame has a compelling biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, a political activist who fought for the rights of minorities, women and the poor. Her tombstone bears the phrase, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

  • Julian Bond
    While an Atlanta college student, Bond helped found a student sit-in and anti-segregation organization and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Read a biography of this professor and former member of the Georgia General Assembly from the NAACP.

  • Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
    A colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., Shuttlesworth survived a dynamite blast to his home and beatings by white supremacists in his struggle for desegregation in Birmingham, Ala. Read a profile of the reverend in the Cincinnati Museum Center.

  • Aaron Henry
    Henry participated in the Freedom Riders Movement and served as the president of the NAACP from 1960 to 1993. In March 2000, the House of Representatives proposed that the federal building in Clarksdale, Mississippi, be designated the Aaron Henry Federal Building and United States Post Office.

  • Bob Moses
    An advocate for voting rights, Moses also participated in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, according to this biography from Wikipedia. The Mississippi State Senate commended the life of this civil rights activist by declaring Bob Moses Day. Moses founded the Algebra Project, which helps students of color master math skills.



   --- T. Beecham



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