Black Freedom Struggle – an open access collection covering the ongoing fight for equal rights.

Black Freedom Struggle is an open access collection of selective primary source documents covering the ongoing fight for equal rights.

The collection includes approximately 1,600 documents from six phases of the struggle to obtain Black freedom:

  1. Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement (1790-1860)
  2. The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861-1877)
  3. Jim Crow Era from 1878 to the Great Depression (1878-1932)
  4. The New Deal and World War II (1933-1945)
  5. The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (1946-1975)
  6. The Contemporary Era (1976-2000)

The resource is especially rich in legislative sources. For example, documents related to Policing and Protests in the Contemporary Era include the Congressional hearing document, Policing Strategies for the 21st Century; the text of 116 H. Res 1007 calling for justice for George Floyd and opposing efforts to defund the police; and Representative Barbara Lee’s comments to the House of Representatives in 2020 on the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

Justice for Breonna Taylor
“401 years of white supremacy and oppression have rotted our criminal justice system. If there is any doubt that systemic racism exists, look to this decision [to indict only one of the three officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor]”.

The website draws documents from a number of ProQuest databases including American Periodical; Black Abolitionist Papers; ProQuest History Vault; ProQuest Congressional; and Alexander Street’s Black Thought and Culture, to which Collins Memorial Library subscribes.

Although the collection is not exhaustive, it is a valuable tool, affording students the opportunity to examine primary source materials to enhance their understanding of African Americans’ struggles to obtain freedom and equality in the United States.

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