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Eyes on the Prize
Primary Sources

Read some of the documents that express various views of the civil rights movement.

On the Verge of a Dangerous Racial Conflagration, 1955
Eisenhower advisor Frederic Morrow warns that African Americans' reaction to the Emmett Till case is creating an explosive situation.

Rules for Riding Desegregated Buses, 1956
The Montgomery Improvement Association advises its members on how to behave on buses after the boycott ends.

"No school in our state will be integrated..." (1962)
Mississippi governor Ross Barnett defies the Supreme Court.

Nonviolence and Racial Justice, 1957
In 1957, young minister Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. explains the nonviolent philosophy.

Letter from a Freedom Rider's Father, 1961
When John Dolan leaves college to join the Freedom Riders, his father loses patience.

A Volatile Time, 1962
The federal judge who stopped marchers in Albany, Georgia, defends his ruling.

An Ugly Situation in Birmingham, 1963
President John F. Kennedy answers press questions about the civil rights conflict in Birmingham, Alabama.

Patience is a Dirty and Nasty Word, 1963
SNCC chairman John Lewis delivers a fiery speech at the March on Washington.

One Volunteer's Freedom Summer, 1964
Young volunteer Terri Shaw describes her work in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Alabama Voter Registration Form, c. 1964-65
Inspect the state of Alabama's application for would-be voters.

What Does Mississippi Have to Do With Harlem? (1964)
Malcolm X voices outrage at white politicians in a Harlem speech.

Creating an Open and Just City, 1966
A position paper lays out the problems in Chicago, and plans for bringing about changes.

Two Societies, Separate and Unequal, 1968
The Kerner Commission report explains why Detroit's black residents rioted in 1967.

People, Acting Together, Are Power, 1967
Cleveland's first black mayor explains how his power base originated in the black community.

The Goals of the Poor People's Campaign, 1968
See lists of broad and specific changes the campaign's organizers hoped to achieve.

Where is the Draft for the Freedom Fight? (c. 1965)
This SNCC position paper expresses opposition to the war in Vietnam.

The Panthers' Ten-Point Platform, 1966
A manifesto lists all the aims of the controversial Black Panther Party.

Attica Inmate Demands, 1971
Testimony after the Attica prison riots includes these two lists of the inmates' demands.

Both Parties Have Betrayed Us, 1972
The introduction to the National Black Political Agenda explains why blacks need to gain political power.

Keeping Atlanta Too Busy to Hate, 1975
Mayor Maynard Jackson balances the interests of black and white in Atlanta.

Remember the Real Fight, 1975
A community group advises black students and their families on how to survive the busing crisis.

Equal Opportunity is Not Enough, 1965
President Lyndon Johnson describes the purpose of affirmative action legislation.

Report on the Miami Riot, 1981
Explore the reasons behind the destructive Miami uprising of 1980.

Young Residents of Cabrini Green, 1983
A 1983 newspaper article describes the lives of young people in Chicago's notorious public housing complex.

We Must Have a Black Mayor, 1983
Chicago mayor Harold Washington describes why more African Americans should go into politics.

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Eyes on the Prize Blackside American Experience