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Overview

When World War I ended in 1918, the United States jubilantly welcomed its soldiers home. America's finest young men had sacrificed their youth to fight for freedom on foreign soil, and those who returned were given a hero's welcome.

Returning black soldiers in the South, however, were being greeted differently. While white servicemen were honored for their valor, black soldiers who had fought shoulder-to-shoulder with their white comrades were now expected to resume their "proper place" as second-class citizens. Resentment grew and violent race riots resulted in several Southern cities.

The papers of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC), which was formed in 1919 in response to these civil disturbances, are now available in this microfilm collection. The CIC formed as a moderate coalition of whites and blacks, who recognized that promoting nonviolent change within the archaic Southern societal structure would in the long run better serve the cause of racial harmony.

The ClC's purpose was relatively narrow by contemporary civil rights standards--to promote better race relations through public awareness and educational programs. They achieved their immediate objective of quelling the riots and relative peace settled into the South.

Students in African American studies, American history, political science, and civil rights will use the official documents from the CIC extensively in research projects. Included in the collection are:

 

  • correspondence
  • minutes of CIC meetings
  • pamphlets and reports
  • CIC educational material

This collection is divided into seven separate series to aid researchers in locating particular documents or subject areas. The CIC was to become the Southern Regional Council in 1944, an organization whose archives are also included in this catalog. Representing as it does the foundation for the later Southern Regional Council, this collection provides primary source background materials for any in-depth study of civil rights activities of this century.

(See Also: Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching and Southern Regional Council Papers.)

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