Featured Primary Sources

The Civil Rights Movement

Nothing can enrich and enliven our understanding of the nation’s past, or dispel apathy about it, more powerfully than primary sources. The primary sources below open up a variety of viewpoints and have been chosen by master teachers specifically for use in the classroom. Affiliate School members can print a packet that includes an image of the document, photograph, or other resource, a transcript where applicable, text to place the document in historical context, and document-based questions. In addition, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

Honor King: End Racism! broadside, April 8, 1968. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Civil rights posters, 1968

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
 “Don’t Buy A Ford Ever Again” broadside, c. 1960. (GLC08259)

Don’t Buy a Ford Ever Again, ca. 1960

Creator: Citizens Council of Greater New Orleans Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
George Wallace to Ms. Martin, April 14, 1964. (GLC00295)

George Wallace on segregation, 1964

Creator: George Wallace Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Robert F. Kennedy, [Report to President John F. Kennedy regarding civil rights],

Robert Kennedy on civil rights, 1963

Creator: Robert F. Kennedy Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

Eleanor Roosevelt to Addie Frizielle, May 13, 1944 (GLC09544)

Eleanor Roosevelt’s four basic rights, 1944

Creator: Eleanor Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Franklin D. Roosevelt to Arthur B. Spingarn, June 14, 1940 (GLC04477)

FDR urges NAACP support before WWII, 1940

Creator: Franklin D. Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: