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Race Relations in America

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Surveys and Papers from the Amistad Research Center, 1943-1970

Explore three pivotal decades in the struggle for civil rights in America. 


Discover a wealth of primary source material on the Civil Rights Movement, segregation, discrimination and racial theory in America during three pivotal decades of the twentieth century.

The Race Relations Department, based at Fisk University, was a highly influential think tank offering a forum for discussion and research on racial topics. The work of the Department highlighted topics such as poverty and inequality, class, housing, employment, education and government policy. Its programme attracted many well-known figures in the Civil Rights Movement, including Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Charles Houston, and Marguerite Cartwright. This resource sheds light on the fascinating work of the Department through the digitisation of extensive records from the Department’s archives, now held at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans.

The collection contains excellent survey material, including interviews, questionnaires, statistics, raw data and analyses, as well as advice for other organisations and towns wishing to conduct their own investigations. In addition to this, audio recordings and transcripts of speeches, photographs recording the participants of each institute, as well as two publicity film slideshows are featured.

Ideal for teaching and research in the following areas:

  • Crime and police brutality
  • Community protests and race riots
  • Poverty and discrimination
  • Voting rights
  • Urban renewal and housing problems
  • Health care and welfare programs
  • Migration from the South into northern cities
  • Demographics
  • The role of the church in African American communities
  • Labour movements
  • Student protests and other non-violent demonstrations
  • African American culture
  • Ethnic groups such as American Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Chinese and Japanese citizens.

Read an interview with Consultant Editor and Associate Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of Iowa, Katrina M. Sanders, on the content of the collection, from the December 2016 issue of Library Journal.