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Civil Rights Movement

A guide for locating primary sources and research materials about the U.S. civil rights movement.

Primary Source Material on the Civil Rights Era

In addition to the important materials housed in the Emmett Till Archives and our collection of resources about civil rights in Florida and at Florida State University, the FSU Libraries provides access to a wide range of primary sources for research on the civil rights movement in the United States.

Primary sources are traces of the past that historians use to interpret and explain our history.  Primary sources are created by someone who was either involved in an event or directly observed it, either at the time or later through their memory. Common examples include diaries, newspapers, personal correspondence, government documents, and photographs. For more information on how historians use primary sources, visit our History Guide.

This guide to primary sources includes materials at FSU that are commonly consulted for the study of the U.S. civil rights movement. This is by no means a comprehensive list since you may discover traces of the civil rights movement in unexpected places, like business records of a company that may have supplied a civil rights organization's office, or the diary of an otherwise unknown figure who observed a protest. Imagining where to find these traces of the past are an opportunity to be creative!

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