Beginnings: Brown, Till & Montgomery
The Smithsonian Museum's guide to Brown is light on documents but strong on narrative and images. Details the characters and arguments involved in fighting the case on both sides. A sound place to begin understanding why this case was so significant in legal history. Also contains some great resources on the implementation battle that raged on for the decades to follow.
From Our Documents - the text of the 1954 ruling from the US Supreme Court that decided on the point of law - that separate but equal provision in education is not constituional.
Site detailing the cases that set the precedents on which the Brown case was fought. Details how the NAACP moved from fighting to ensure educational opportunities and reveal 'separate but equal as a sham, to challenging its fundamental inequality.
The LoC's hub for all materials of use in studying Brown.
As the title suggests, a really useful chronological guide to the civil rights of African Americans from the Dred Scott case in 1857 (that stated no black person, free or slave, could be a citizen) through to Brown II in 1955 - the 'implementation' ruling that decided how desegregation should happen in fact. The site also has links to other pages with source material - useful.
A National Archives page with documents attached offering some strategies for teaching the significance of Brown.
The L of C's online exhibition. Includes scanned copies of primary source material - such as guidance from Earl Warren, NAACP briefs and images of key protagonists. Useful.
Jet Magazine was a national weekly magazine for news and entertainment, aimed at a black audience and made by the publishers of Ebony. This edition reported on the death of Emmett Till at the hands of white racists and included shocking photos of Till's body after it had been recovered. The magazine played a key role in turning a local tragedy into a national outrage. The image still has the power to shock, so be warned.
Douglas Linder's page contains photos and transcripts from the trial of Till's murderers, and their subsequent confession of guilt.
Website from the the Montgomery Advertiser, the local newspaper. As such, it makes great use of their archive, but you also get oral histories and biographies of the key players, including Rosa Parks, E.D. Nixon & Martin Luther King.
As the title suggests, a range of documents, images, memories and oral histories from participants and activists.
Part of the Eyes on the Prize site, this has news clippings, video, images and analysis of this key campaign.
If you want evidence that black Montgomery was already planning a boycott prior to Rosa Parks arrest, this is it. Jo Ann Robinson's letter from 1954 details the ongoing battle for fair access already being fought in the city.
During the case Browder et al vs Gayle - the civil case fought by the MIA & NAACP to end segregation on Montgomery's buses, this seating plan was submitted showing exactly where Parks was seated when she was arrested.
A range of primary materials on Montgomery, supported by images and audio.
A scanned copy of the police report detailing Rosa Parks' arrest. From the Martin Luther King Papers project at Stanford.
Prior to the MIA being formed,and Martin Luther King becoming involved, Jo Ann Robinson and the Montgomery Women's Political Council had already devised plans for a one-day bus boycott on 5th December. This leaflet, amended by local civic leaders to include a planning meeting after the boycott was widely distributed in the wake of Parks' arrest. What does it tell you about the local community role in the boycott?
This short extract from one of Martin Luther King's key allies recalls the first meeting of the MIA.
This advert in the Alabama Journal sets out the grievances and demands of the MIA. Interesting to note the MIA did not want full desegreagation, but a first come, first serve, white customers at the front, black customers at the back arrangement. What does this tell you about the nature of the campaign? Why did the goals eventually change?
This letter to the Montgomery Advertiser gives an insight into how quickly Gandhian ideas of nonviolence began to influence the boycott.