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Civil Rights Movement collection


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Civil Rights Movement was a social movement in the United States that aimed to secure equal rights for Black Americans. The movement began in the 1950s and continued through the 1960s, and was characterized by nonviolent protests and civil disobedience. The movement was initiated to fight against the racial segregation, discrimination and disenfranchisement that Black Americans faced in the United States, especially in the South. The movement was a response to these injustices and the fight for equal protection under the law.

The movement was led by several prominent figures and organizations such as Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, Whitney Young, John Lewis, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); and was marked by several key events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, March on Washington and the Freedom Rides. The movement was successful in bringing about significant changes in the United States, including the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

This collection of publications, flyers, leaflets, pamphlets, stickers celluloid buttons and a poster represents a few of the many efforts that made up part of the Civil Rights Movement, a significant moment in American history that paved the way for the advancement of civil rights and social justice for Black Americans. While this collection documents no single effort, several of the items are from various organizations and events located in the state of Illinois, including a mimeographed flyer for the first annual inter-collegiate Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) party a-go-go held on May 28, 1965, that was sponsored by the Chicago Inter-Collegiate Friends of SNCC. SNCC was founded in 1960 and was dedicated to nonviolent, direct action protests. Its membership was comprised mainly of students who participated in several major civil rights events, including the sit-ins, Freedom Rides, March on Washington, and the voter registration drive of 1964 called Freedom Summer. There are several types of celluloid buttons promoting SNCC and other organizations that participated in the Movement, as well as stickers with the symbol of clasped black and white hands. Other items include writings relating to Blacks and socialism and communism that predate the Civil Rights Movements, as well as accounts of activities during the Movement.

This collection is arranged in two series: I. Printed material II. Memorabilia

Sold by Freeman's Auctions, 2020

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kristine McGee
Finding Aid Date
2024 January 3
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Boyd, Roberts, Sevareid: You Can't Kill the Dream, circa 1968.
Box 1 Folder 1
Chicago Inter-collegiate friends of SNCC: "Inter Collegiate SNCC Party A-Go-Go" flyer, 1965.
Box 1 Folder 2
Crosswaith, Frank R.: The Negro and Socialism, 1929?.
Box 1 Folder 3
"Freedom Summer" leaflet, undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
Illinois Citizens of Eisenhower: "Friends of Ike" Committee: newsletter and membership card, 1956.
Box 1 Folder 5
Lewis, John L.: "Equal Opportunity" speech at the National Negro Congress, 1940.
Box 1 Folder 6
National Urban League: 40th Anniversary Year Book, 1950.
Box 1 Folder 7
Navy Times are Changin', Vol. II No. 5, 1971.
Box 1 Folder 8
Saunders, Doris E., editor: The Day They Marched with an introduction by Lerone Bennett, Jr., designed by Herbert Temple, 1963.
Box 1 Folder 9
Wilkerson, Doxey A.: Why Negroes are Joining the Communist Party, 1946.
Box 1 Folder 10

"United We Shall Overcome" stickers, 1960s.
Box 1 Folder 11
Assorted celluloid buttons from Civil Rights organizations and events, 1956-1984.
Box 1 Folder 12
Assorted celluloid buttons from Civil Rights organizations and events, 1963-1981.
Box 1 Folder 13
"A Common Goal: Victims of Violence, Malcolm X and Dr. King sought justice" poster, undated.
Drawer 108

Print, Suggest