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In 1941 a small group of student activists in Chicago banded together, embracing Mahatma Gandhi's principles of nonviolent direct action in their fight against segregated housing and places of public accommodation. Within three years, this local cell had become a national organization that would, in the ensuing two decades, play a prominent role in the American civil rights movement.

This collection offers materials recently released for micropublication and provides up-to-date information on CORE's history, strategies, tactics, and ideologies. Students and scholars of 20th-century American history, African-American studies, political science, and sociology can follow the problems and perseverance of CORE in its fight for equal housing, equal employment opportunities, desegregated schools and transportation, and black voters' rights. Among the numerous topics to be researched are:


  • CORE's roots in the Christian-pacifist movement and its commitment to nonviolent direct action
  • the instruments of social change the organization employed, such as sit-ins, boycotts, and jail-ins
  • CORE's organizational struggles, its decline in the 1950s due to the "Red Scare," and its re-emergence in the 1960s
  • CORE's impact on the black student movement
  • the Journey of Reconciliation, the Freedom Rides, desegregation, and voter registration drives
  • CORE's relationship with other civil rights organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, NAACP, and the Urban League
  • many of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s personal papers

As a forerunner of the civil rights movement in its early days and a bulwark of civil rights activities in the 1960s, CORE's battlegrounds were often violent. This collection spans the years 1944-68, with the largest portion of material dealing with the 1961-68 period when CORE adopted a more militant strategy in response to the Black Power movement.

The collection was filmed from the holdings of the Library and Archives of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia.

The addendum contains completely unique content, and does not duplicate the main CORE collection.

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