History and Advocacy

To inspire your research, check out sample Georgia topics paired with links to primary sources and contextual information. Click each image to view it in more detail.

Digital Library of Georgia
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Civil Rights Digital Library
Georgia Historic Newspapers

The Americus Movement

Following the Albany Movement, the Americus Movement continued working to increase voter registration in Black communities and to educate people in Americus about civil rights and citizenship. Several waves of protesters were arrested, including a group of thirty teenage girls. They were imprisoned in terrible conditions that were eventually publicized and resulted in their release. The Americus Movement opened doors for African Americans in Americus and put public pressure on the city to desegregate.

Continue reading about the Americus Movement in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

The Albany Movement

The Albany Movement was the first of the civil rights era to attempt to desegregate a whole community. More than a thousand Black protesters were jailed over the course of the movement, including Martin Luther King Jr. After months of work and little progress, King considered the movement a failure. However, King learned from the Albany Movement and applied the lessons to his work in Birmingham, Alabama.

Continue reading about the Albany Movement in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Atlanta Sit-ins

Students from Atlanta’s historically Black colleges formed the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR) in March 1960. Their manifesto, “An Appeal for Human Rights,” was published in local newspapers, including the Atlanta Constitution, garnering attention and praise for their commitment to nonviolence. The students then lobbied to desegregate lunch counters and eventually joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Through a campaign of sit-ins and boycotts at restaurants and stores, COAHR worked to desegregate prominent local businesses.

Continue reading about the Atlanta Sit-ins in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Bus Desegregation in Atlanta

After the success of the Montgomery bus boycott, a group of Black ministers in Atlanta came together and launched the Love, Law, and Liberation (Triple L) Movement to desegregate Atlanta’s city buses. In January 1957, six ministers, led by the Reverend William Holmes Borders, boarded and sat in the front of a bus. This action resulted in their arrest, allowing the ministers to challenge and ultimately defeat bus segregation in court.

Continue reading about bus desegregation in Atlanta in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Freedom Rides

In the spring and summer of 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sponsored a series of integrated bus and train rides across the South to challenge the segregation of public stations and terminals. The Freedom Riders carefully planned their route and tactics to ride safely but still faced harsh resistance at many stops. Though they traveled undisturbed through Georgia, tensions came to a head in Alabama, where the Freedom Riders experienced widespread violence.

Continue reading about the Freedom Rides in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Ministers’ Manifesto

After the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which ruled racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, southern lawmakers began to organize against court-ordered desegregation. As a response, eighty members of the Atlanta Christian Council issued a manifesto calling for the peaceful integration of schools. After the Temple bombing in Atlanta, more than 300 members of the council issued a second manifesto to organize citizens and hold meetings on integration throughout the state.

Continue reading about the Ministers’ Manifesto in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

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