Civil Rights Movement: first-hand accounts

The St. Augustine Movement, 1964. Photo submitted to Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth's Guest Book.

Members of the generation that actively participated in the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s are starting to pass away in greater numbers each year.  And their participation in the movement was such an important part of their lives that many of their obituaries include references to it.  In the past year alone, nearly 1000 obituaries published by’s newspaper affiliates included the phrase “Civil Rights.”

Interested in reading more about the civil rights movement as shared in obituaries? Try these and other keyword searches from any of’s newspaper affiliates’ sites:

Segregation: Stories of growing up in the segregated South and first-hand accounts of fighting segregation.

NAACP: Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States.’s newspaper affiliates have published more than 5,000 obituaries that reference the NAACP.

Congress of Racial Equality: In 1942, CORE (an inter-racial group of students) began organizing sit-ins to challenge segregation.  In 1947, they led the first of what they would later call Freedom Rides – trips through the segregated South that were aimed at ending racial segregation in public transportation. By 1961, there were more than 50 chapters of CORE across the U.S.

Brown v. Board of Education: In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal, overturning the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” ruling that was the basis for segregation laws throughout the South.

Montgomery bus boycott: The historic 381 day boycott began following Rosa Parks’ arrest on December 5, 1955. The boycott launched Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership in the movement.

March on Washington: The historic 1963 march led by Martin Luther King, Jr., at which he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

SNCC: The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee played a significant role in sit-ins, voter registration drives, and freedom rides. SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael introduced a new slogan in the movement: Black Power.

Black Panther Party: Founded in Oakland, CA in 1966, the Panthers’ original goal was to protect neighborhoods from police brutality.

About Katie

I joined in 2002 as a part-time content screener and now serve as Director of Operations, overseeing Legacy’s day-to-day operations (Guest Book screening, obituary processing, customer service, and client service). I grew up in California, the daughter of a psychologist and a minister. My parents instilled in me the importance of listening to and caring about others. One of the things I appreciate most about working at is that I am able to have a small part in easing people's pain during one of the most difficult times in their lives. In my life outside of Legacy, I enjoy baking treats (and bringing them to the office to share), playing the piano, reading, taking pictures, tending to our vegetable & herb gardens, trying out new restaurants and foods, spending time with my husband, Chuck (whom I met at Legacy) and our kids, Brett Jr. & Josie.
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