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Civil Rights Movement

Recently discovered transcripts of the trial, which failed to bring the boy’s killers to justice, reveal new details about a pivotal moment in American history.

Emmett Till's parent

A college student in the march from Selma to Montgomery recalls the struggle for democracy in Alabama in 1965.

The legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer’s life was her belief that the United States could indeed live up to its ideals.

Written while he was jailed for leading nonviolent demonstrations, King's open letter defined the Civil Rights movement.

Editor's Note: Bruce Watson is a Contributing Editor of American Heritage and has authored several critically-acclaimed books. He writes a history blog at The Attic.

Sickened by a lynching he witnessed as a boy, Tom Landrum joined the Klan and risked his life to provide evidence on murder of Civil Rights activist Vernon Dahmer.

Text  TK excerpt from recent book, When Evil Lived in Laurel (WW Norton). Landrum's testimony led to convictions in the murder of Vernon Dahmer  Visit    

A critical but forgotten part of the Civil Rights era was the campaign to undo the white supremacist constitutions in many states.

Editor’s note:  A.E. Dick Howard is the longest serving law professor at the University of Virginia and an internationally respected authority on constitutional law.

An exhibit now touring the U.S. highlights the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s, with a focus on the violence and brutality endured by its participants. 

Jordan’s publisher recalls working with the civil rights and corporate leader, who passed away on March 1.

Editor's Note: Peter Osnos was a reporter at the Washington Post and a prominent book editor and publisher in New York. He founded PublicAffairs Books in 1997 and served as its Publisher and CEO until 2005. Mr.

The enduring legacy of the Civil Rights Movement lies not in soundbites from its most charismatic leaders, but in the impact it had on the lives of ordinary people.

Editor's Note: Thomas C. Holt is the James Westfall Thompson Professor of American and African American History at the University of Chicago and a preeminent scholar of black heritage and descendants of the African diaspora in America.

During the Black Panther trials in New Haven 50 years ago this summer, a remarkable group of leaders helped calm a boisterous crowd of protesters.

Editor’s Note: In May 1970, my Yale classmate, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., and I watched National Guard soldiers roll heavy tear-gas machines across the historic New Haven Green.

During the Black Panther trials in New Haven 50 years ago this summer, a remarkable group of leaders helped calm a boisterous crowd of protesters.

Editor’s Note: In May 1970, my Yale classmate, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., and I watched National Guard soldiers roll heavy tear-gas machines across the historic New Haven Green.

In a pivotal trip in 1967, Sen. Kennedy saw first-hand the effects of poverty in the Delta.

The modern version of an African-American spiritual has helped draw together people fighting for a better life


The noted writer and educator tells of his boyhood in the West Virginia town of Piedmont, where African Americans were second-class citizens but family pride ran deep.

You wouldn’t know Piedmont anymore—my Piedmont, I mean—the town in West Virginia where I learned to be a colored boy. The 1950s in Piedmont was a sepia time, or at least that’s the color my memory has given it.

J.R. Clifford fought his real battles in the courtroom

My paternal grandfather, Edward St. Lawrence Gates, was buried on July 2, 1960. After the burial my father showed my brother and me scrapbooks that his father had kept. Within the pages of those scrapbooks was an obituary of my great-great-grandmother, a slave named Jane Gates.

A new Greensboro museum celebrates the courage of four young black men 50 years ago

Winter weather canceled the sold-out gala banquet to celebrate the opening of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Saturday, January 30.

During demonstrations in Birmingham, Martin Luther King Jr. took perhaps the most fateful decision made during the civil rights era

Although marred by the grisly murders of three young activists, the Freedom Summer of 1964 brought revolutionary changes to Mississippi and the nation.

What would Martin Luther King Jr.—had he been alive today—thought of our latest president’s oratory?

King gave his “
January 11 Surgeon General Luther L. Terry releases his report on cigarette smoking. January 16 Hello, Dolly! opens at the St. James Theater in New York City.

Viewing a transformation that still affects all of us—through the prism of a single year

It has been called the “burned-over decade,” a “dream and a nightmare,” the “definitive end of the Dark Ages, and the beginning of a more hopeful and democratic period” in American history.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott and its legacy

December 1, 1955, was a cool, drizzly night in Montgomery. James F. Blake, a veteran of World War II and a veteran bus driver, was maneuvering the bus he normally took on the Montgomery Avenue route through downtown toward Cleveland Avenue on the city’s west side.

What’s going to happen when the most prosperous, best-educated generation in history finally grows up? (And just how special are the baby boomers?)

This is a journalist’s list. My reading (and knowledge) is greatly influenced by the events of the day, the time, the era. My reading and my work are often one and the same. That is one of the best things about being a writer, but it may not be ideal for list making.
In his kaleidoscopic novel U.S.A., a trilogy published between 1930 and 1936, John Dos Passos offered a descriptive line that has always stayed with me.

Facing a nearly invisible enemy, we all may be subjected to new kinds of government scrutiny. But past wars suggest the final result may be greater freedom.

Almost as soon as the planes struck their targets on September 11, there was renewed debate about a question Americans have grappled with since our country was born: How do we preserve the balance between personal liberty and collective security?

For the first time in a generation, student activism is on the rise. Do these new protesters have anything like the zeal, the conviction, and the clout of their famous 1960s predecessors?

Some 30 years since the storied generation of Vietnam-era student activists began to graduate and disperse into the grown-up world, American universities seem to be emerging once again as a theater for protest and political engagement.

SIXTY YEARS AGO THIS MONTH the Soviet Union orbited a “man-made moon” whose derisive chirp persuaded Americans they’d already lost a race that had barely begun

“I think one man is just as good as another,” he said, “as long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.” Yet Truman broke with his convictions to make civil rights a concern of the national g
In the late 1960s I was a reporter on the staff of a big-city daily newspaper in the border South. My beat was local politics, which at the time had edged into civil rights and sometimes racial confrontations. The issues were clear.

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