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Landmarks of Montgomery
Overview:
This podcast was created by a fourth grade class on a field trip to the capital of Alabama.  The podcast visits some of Montgomery's well-known landmarks.


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The Civil Rights Movement in Alabama
Overview:
ArchiTreats: Food for Thought celebrates the Year of Alabama History through a series of sequential lectures in Alabama history by leading experts in the field. Join us as Odessa Woolfolk presents The Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. This presentation was held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Alabama, the ‘Cradle of the Confederacy,’ was the setting for many of the most nationally significant battles of the Civil Rights Movement. The events of that era were initiated by ordinary people with uncommon courage. This presentation will highlight the mass activism which occurred in local communities around the state, and the importance of leaders and footsoldiers. Odessa Woolfolk grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She received a BA in history from Talladega College and a MA in Urban Studies from Occidental College in California and she was a National Urban Fellow at Yale University. Her professional career includes high school and college teaching, as well as public administration in New York and Washington, D.C. She served in various capacities at the University of Alabama for over 20 years. She is the Founding President and Chairman Emeritus of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This ArchiTreats presentation is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives and a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The public is invited to bring a sack lunch and enjoy a bit of Alabama history. Coffee and tea will be provided by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. For more information, call (334) 353-4712.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Virginia Volker
Overview:
Virginia Sparks Volker was born in Jasper, Alabama in 1940.  An instructor of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) since 1967, Volker has degrees from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Harvard University.  Actively involved in the Unitarian church and in many community organizations, Volker also directs an annual summer intensive course on the Civil Rights Movement.   As a college student in the early 1960s, Volker participated in inter-racial discussion and social groups with students from Stillman College.  Because such activities were illegal, Volker and her friends were strongly encouraged by university administrators to cease participation.  However, even after she enrolled in graduate school at UAB, she continued to cross boundaries and participate in groups such as the Alabama Council on Human Relations and Friendship in Action.    Listen to Virginia Volker explain how she and other White students came to socialize with Black college students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1960 and '61.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Eileen Walbert
Overview:
Eileen Kelly Walbert was born and reared in Virginia.  She and her husband, a musician, moved to Birmingham in 1946 from New York City, where they had lived during their first years of marriage.  Walbert describes the move to Birmingham as, "…like moving to Nazi Germany…although there were no swastikas…[for] half of the population, their skin color served the same purpose for discrimination and oppression…"    During the late 1950s, Walbert joined the inter-racial Alabama Council on Human Relations, through which she and other Whites came to know Blacks as friends and supported efforts to desegregate public facilities in Birmingham and the state of Alabama.   Listen to Eileen Walbert discuss the reaction of some White communities to the demonstrations that took place in Birmingham in April and May of 1963.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Rosa Washington
Overview:
Rosa Powell Washington was born in Davenport, Montgomery County, Alabama in 1912.  When she was eight years old, her father decided to leave the farm to find work in the city.  Married at 22 years old, Washington moved to Pittsburgh with her husband, who died five years later of tuberculosis.  By the time she was 27 years old, her mother and father had also died and she was left to raise a deceased brother's five children.  Eventually, she was hired to work at the Greyhound Bus Station in downtown Birmingham.  She retired as an Information Clerk for Greyhound after 37 years and 4 months.     Listen to Rosa Washington remember that fateful Sunday when the Freedom Riders arrived at the Birmingham Greyhound Bus Station in 1961.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Lamar Weaver
Overview:
Born in Cassville, Georgia in 1928, Lamar Weaver moved with his mother, a nurse, to Birmingham when he was in elementary school.  The family lived in a downtown neighborhood where he played with Italian, Jewish and Black children, often getting into trouble.  By the time he graduated from high school, Weaver had become a Christian.  He decided to enter the ministry and the Civil Rights Movement, which was getting underway in Birmingham.  In addition, Weaver ran for public office against Bull Conner in the City of Birmingham.  In order to pay the bills while he was in Bible College, he worked as an ambulance driver and metallurgist for Tennessee Coal & Iron (TCI).  Weaver's employment came to an end in early March of 1957 after he accompanied Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and his wife, Ruby Shuttlesworth, to the Union Terminal Station in downtown Birmingham where the three shared a bench in the "Whites only" waiting room.   Listen to Lamar Weaver describe the scene at Terminal Station and the reaction of an angry White mob to his involvement in the Shuttlesworth's attempt to desegregate that public facility.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Calvin Woods
Overview:
A second-generation pastor, Reverend Calvin Woods was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1933 and educated at Parker High School and Birmingham Baptist Bible College.  He also graduated from Miles College and engaged in studies at other institutions.    When the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights was founded in 1956, Woods was already known for his beliefs.  He spoke out from the pulpit on the unconstitutional ity of segregation laws.   His outspokenness eventually led to an incident that marked his early involvement in the organized movement for change in Birmingham and the South.   Listen to Reverend Woods discuss that incident and his general role in the Birmingham Movement.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Emma Young
Overview:
Emma Young was born in Camden, Wilcox County, Alabama in 1902.  She moved to Birmingham as a young married woman.  While in Birmingham, she worked as a housewife in her own home, and as a domestic in the homes of White families.  In addition, she worked as a cook and maid at downtown hotels.   When Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Birmingham to assist the local Civil Rights Movement, Young was active in the movement with her children and grandchildren.  She attended mass meetings and demonstrations, and her son, grandson, and granddaughter were jailed. Mrs. Young passed away at the age of 102.    Listen to Emma Young relay the story of an encounter between Birmingham police commissioner, Bull Conner, and a group of rabbis who had traveled to Birmingham in 1963 to observe the movement and support the efforts of local Blacks working to end segregation's grip on the city. 


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Becoming Billie Holiday
Overview:
Carole Boston Weatherford was interviewed about her book, Becoming Billie Holiday. The interview was prepared, filmed, edited, and rendered by students from Brewbaker Tech High School and took place at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery, Alabama on April 18, 2009.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Elizabeth Fitts
Overview:
Dr. Elizabeth Hayes Fitts was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1943, but grew up in Birmingham.  After graduation from Ullman High School, Fitts entered Miles College in Birmingham, where she became involved in the Civil Rights Movement.  In fact, she became so involved that she left school for a time to join the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helping to organize voter registration in Southeastern states.   Fitts returned to college at Tuskegee, where she remained actively involved in the movement.  Now a professor at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Dr. Fitts speaks publicly about her activism, particularly about being jailed as a college student in Birmingham in 1963.   Listen to Elizabeth Fitts explain how she and other Miles College students organized and carried out a local economic boycott known as the "Selective Buying Campaign" in Birmingham.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Nims Gay
Overview:
Nims Gay moved to Birmingham with his parents, a homemaker and a railroad worker, soon after he was born in Calhoun County, Alabama in 1923.  A member of the Parker High School Choir and, later, founder of a group called the Gay Harmoniers, Gay was a natural musician.  He was also the first Black radio announcer for Birmingham station WJLD.    When Fred Shuttlesworth and others formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in 1956, Gay served as one of its founding choir directors.  Professional choir musicians eventually took over directorship of the ACMHR Choir, but Gay remained active in the Civil Rights Movement.  He retired from management at Blue Cross Blue Shield, the insurance company.   Listen to Nims Gay tell about driving to Anniston in 1961 to transport Black and White "Freedom Riders" to Birmingham where they stayed in the homes of movement activists after their bus was burned by a mob of angry Whites.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Florida Hamilton
Overview:
Florida Hamilton was born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1925 and reared in Birmingham.  After graduating from Parker High School, she married a minister.  Hamilton cared for her family while working for local physicians and with the Children's Aid Society.  Encouraged by her best friend from church, Hamilton began attending mass meetings in the early 1960s.  She took her children along.  The entire Hamilton family was involved in meetings, marches, and demonstrations.      In Fall 1964, one year after two Black students had integrated and graduated from Birmingham's West End High School, Reverend and Mrs. Hamilton enrolled their daughter, Carrie, in the school.  Carrie was the only Black student in the school, for other Black families who had planned to send their children opted out before the first day of school.    Listen to Florida Hamilton remember the day that Carrie faced a crowd of angry Whites and proudly entered West End High School.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Lola Hendricks
Overview:
Lola Hendricks was born in Birmingham in 1932 and has lived in the city all her life.   After high school, Hendricks attended Booker T. Washington Business College.  Later, as a clerk typist and insurance writer at a local firm, she began attending mass meetings at local churches—events that educated and inspired Blacks in Birmingham to work for change.    Hendricks was an officer with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth in the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights in 1956.  She went on to work for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and to assist Rev. Wyatt T. Walker, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others as they organized "Project C" in Birmingham in 1963.  After long stints with both the Social Security Administration and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Hendricks retired from the federal government in the early 1990s.     Listen to Lola Hendricks describe early mass meetings in Birmingham.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Colonel Stone Johnson
Overview:
Born in the Black Belt town of Hayneville in Lowndes County, Alabama, Colonel Stone Johnson moved to Birmingham at the age of four with his parents, a homemaker and a college-educated cement finisher.   After graduating from Parker High School, Johnson became a truck driver for Hormel Packing Company.  It was then, in the 1940s, that Johnson became actively involved in union organizing.  This period also marked the beginning of his civil rights movement activism, for Johnson saw much discrepancy between the treatment and pay of Black workers and that of Whites.    Listen to Colonel Johnson explain his reasons for getting involved in the Civil Rights Movement.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Carrie Hamilton Lock
Overview:
Carrie Hamilton Lock, the daughter of Florida and William Hamilton, was born in Birmingham in 1949.  Both of her parents were actively involved in many aspects of the Movement, as were most of her neighbors in the Rising community.   During the 1963 demonstrations in downtown Birmingham, Lock was a student at Parker High School.  She marched and attended mass meetings with friends and family.   One year later, at the beginning of the 1964-'65 school year, Lock walked into Birmingham's West End High School amid jeers from a mob of White protestors who did not wish to see public schools integrated.  She was the only Black student to attend the school that year.    Listen to Lock recall that first day of school at West End High.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Merrian McClendon
Overview:
Born in Birmingham in 1948, Merriam McLendon skipped a grade in elementary school.   During movement events in Birmingham in 1963, she was a sophomore at Wenonah High School.  For months prior to the downtown demonstrations, she and her mother had attended and been inspired by mass meetings.  At the height of the Birmingham movement, she spent several days in the county jail.   When she was sixteen years old, McClendon enrolled in Miles College.   After graduation, she moved to Chicago and continued to be politically active while raising a family and experiencing success in the corporate world.   In 1986, after living in and traveling to many places, McLendon returned to Birmingham.   Listen to Merriam McLendon describe how she came to be involved in the Civil Rights Movement.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with James Montgomery
Overview:
Dr. James T. Montgomery was born in the South Alabama town of Atmore in 1926.  When he was 10 years old, his family moved to Birmingham where they made a living in the grocery business.    After graduating from Rosedale High School, Dr. Montgomery went to Atlanta to study at Morehouse College, from which he graduated in 1947.  In order to save money for medical school, Montgomery and his wife lived with his grandparents in Birmingham while he taught Biology and Chemistry for two years at Parker High School.   In 1950, the Montgomerys moved to Washington, D.C. where James attended Howard University Medical School.  Following residencies in St. Louis and Boston, Dr. Montgomery and his wife returned to Birmingham, where he set out to practice cardiology.    Listen as James Montgomery discusses his return to Birmingham in the late-1950s and his reception by local White physicians, many of whom privately encouraged his practice, while publicly refusing to support his induction into medical societies or his ability to see patients in all the city's hospitals


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Fred L. Shuttlesworth
Overview:
Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth was born near Birmingham in 1922.  After college at Alabama State University and studies at Selma University, Shuttlesworth entered the ministry in Selma, Alabama.  Shortly after he was called into the ministry, he accepted a pastorate at Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham where he remained until 1961.    In 1956, the state of Alabama outlawed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from operating in the state.  In response to that action, Shuttlesworth and others organized to form the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR).  Led by Shuttlesworth, the ACMHR filed lawsuits, coordinated demonstrations and protests, and otherwise challenged the segregation laws of Birmingham.  In retaliation, his home was bombed repeatedly.  Though he accepted a pastorate at a church in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1961, Shuttlesworth retained his leadership role in the Birmingham movement and the ACMHR, inviting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and members of the SCLC to come to Birmingham in 1963.   Listen to Fred Shuttlesworth describe the intensity of a mass meeting held on June 5, 1956—the date on which the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights was formally organized.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with David Vann
Overview:
David Vann was born in Roanoke, the largest town in Randolph County, Alabama.  He served in World War II, received a law degree, and, later, clerked for Alabama native and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black.  Vann served as Justice Black's clerk when the court handed down its landmark 1954 decision in the case of Brown v Board of Education.  Shortly after that decision, Vann arrived in Birmingham to practice law with a downtown firm known for its relatively progressive views and representation of labor.    One of Vann's chief accomplishments was successfully campaigning for a public referendum in 1962 that changed Birmingham's form of municipal government from the city commission system to a mayoral/council system.  Later, from 1975 to 1979, Vann himself served as Mayor of the City of Birmingham. Vann passed away in 1999.   Listen to former Mayor Vann discuss critical events that he believed led to the gradual willingness of Birmingham's White leadership to negotiate with local Black leaders and bring about an end to segregation in Birmingham.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Hattie Felder
Overview:
Hattie M. Felder was born in Orrville in Dallas County, Alabama in 1928.  When she was 21 years old, Felder moved to Birmingham, where she could live with extended family while completing school and supporting a child.  She attended beauty school at night and worked in the kitchen at a nursing home during the day.  Even then, in the early 1950s, Felder was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which the State of Alabama shut down in 1956.  When former members and leaders of the NAACP formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Felder joined it as well.    Many adults in the Black community did not openly participate in Movement activities because they feared loss of their or their spouse's jobs.  Felder, however, was self-employed as a beautician, so she did not hesitate to go to jail on Easter Sunday 1963. Listen to Hattie Felder tell what it was like to be involved in the NAACP in Alabama in the 1950s.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Hattie Felder
Overview:
Hattie M. Felder was born in Orrville in Dallas County, Alabama in 1928. When she was 21 years old, Felder moved to Birmingham, where she could live with extended family while completing school and supporting a child. She attended beauty school at night and worked in the kitchen at a nursing home during the day. Even then, in the early 1950s, Felder was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which the State of Alabama shut down in 1956. When former members and leaders of the NAACP formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Felder joined it as well. Many adults in the Black community did not openly participate in Movement activities because they feared loss of their or their spouse's jobs. Felder, however, was self-employed as a beautician, so she did not hesitate to go to jail on Easter Sunday 1963. Listen to Hattie Felder tell what it was like to be involved in the NAACP in Alabama in the 1950s.  


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Jesse Champion
Overview:
Jesse Champion was born in the Dolomite community of Birmingham in 1927. While attending Parker High School, he worked under Fess Whatley, the well-known musician and music instructor, from whom he learned to play the clarinet and drums. After high school, he served in the Navy before entering Morehouse College in Atlanta. A scholarship to Alabama A&M enabled him to complete his undergraduate education in 1950. As a high school teacher in Gadsden, Alabama in the 1950s, Champion spent summers attending graduate school at Notre Dame. In 1960, he and his family returned to Birmingham. While teaching at Council Elementary School in the Ensley area of Birmingham, Champion had a run-in with the Birmingham Police Department. The incident, which occurred during the April 1963 demonstrations by local high school students, cost him his position with the school system. Listen to Jesse Champion talk about his experience as a high school teacher at the height of the Birmingham demonstrations.  


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Jerome "Buddy" Cooper
Overview:
Attorney Buddy Cooper was born in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama in 1913, but moved to Birmingham when he was six years old. Later, after graduation from Phillips High School, Cooper went to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Cooper's career as a labor lawyer in Birmingham was interrupted by service in the Navy during World War II. Upon his return, Cooper again practiced law, receiving the first judgment under the National Labor Relations Board for Black railroad firemen in 1951. Cooper passed away in 2003. Listen to Mr. Cooper talk about Alabama native and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, whom he served as a clerk in Washington, D.C. in the late 1930s.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Carolyn Cunningham
Overview:
Carolyn Cunningham was born and reared in Birmingham. After high school graduation, she left for New Orleans and Chicago, eventually graduating from Southern University in Louisiana with degrees in Speech and English. Upon returning to Birmingham in 1961, Cunningham was offered a teaching position at Ullman High School. Shortly after joining the faculty, she became involved in the civil rights movement both directly, as a participant, and indirectly, as a role model to her students. Listen to Carolyn Cunningham talk about the pressures local educators faced as they decided whether or not to participate in movement activities.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Reuben Davis
Overview:
Born in Birmingham in 1923, Reuben Davis is another labor union member whose activism as a railroad employee led to his involvement in the larger civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. Davis served time in the Navy during World War II, but returned directly to Birmingham as soon as he was discharged. After a brief stint as an auto mechanic at a car dealership, Davis was offered a job teaching auto mechanics to high school students in Bessemer. Though he had not attended college nor ever been an instructor, Davis took to the work quickly and retired from teaching after 30 years. Listen to Reuben Davis relay an incident from his union days that motivated him to seek equal rights for Blacks and Whites throughout the rest of his life.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Joe Dickson
Overview:
Joe Dickson was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1933. When he was five years old, his widowed mother brought her five children to Birmingham to live with family in Fairfield. After high school and military service, Dickson returned home and enrolled in Miles College in 1955. Later he received a law degree from Howard University, served as an advisor on Minority Affairs to Alabama Governor Guy Hunt, and bought the Birmingham World newspaper. Dickson served as student government president at Miles, which put him in a position of leadership during Movement activities in Birmingham, including the Miles College student-led Selective Buying Campaign. Listen to Joe Dickson discuss the effectiveness of the Selective Buying Campaign in Birmingham in 1962.


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BCRI Oral History- An Interview with Frank Dukes
Overview:
Reverend Frank Dukes was born in the Birmingham suburb of Fairfield in 1930, where he also attended public schools. After military service in the Korean War and time spent working in automobile plants in Detroit, Dukes returned to Birmingham and enrolled in Miles College. As student government president at Miles, Dukes encouraged other students to get involved in the local movement for change in segregation laws and customs. Listen to Frank Dukes discuss the Selective Buying Campaign, a tactic championed and organized by local college students and administrators in Birmingham in the early 1960s.


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Oral History Interview with James Armstrong
Overview:
James Armstrong was born in Orrville, Dallas County, Alabama in 1923.  After military service in Europe from 1943 to 1946, he returned to Alabama and worked in Selma and in Mobile, where he married.  Since 1953, Armstrong has been self-employed as a barber in Birmingham.    Armstrong was a founding member of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR).  Beginning in 1957, the entire Armstrong family took a lead in Birmingham's efforts to end desegregation when Armstrong registered his children to attend school at Graymont Elementary, an all-White public school.  When the children were denied entry, Armstrong filed a lawsuit and a team of lawyers, including Arthur Shores and Constance Baker Motley, handled the case.  Six years later, Armstrong's youngest children entered and desegregated Graymont Elementary School. Listen to Mr. Armstrong as he describes the day in September 1963 when his two youngest sons finally enrolled at Graymont Elementary. 


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Jim Crow and Me
Overview:
Listen to this interview of Solomon S. Seay and Judge Delores Boyd, authors of Jim Crow and Me: Stories from My Life as a Civil Rights Lawyer conducted at the 2009 Alabama Book Festival by students of Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School.


Web Resources: Podcasts


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Martin Luther King, Jr: Animated Video Biography
http://www.brainpop....
This animated BrainPOP video provides a clear, concise review of the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are also links to a related activity, quiz, and famous quotes. *This video is free and can be viewed with no account set-up.

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Lunch Counter and Freedom Riders
http://www.teachertu...
This is a Civil Rights Museum exhibit on the lunch counter and freedom riders.

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Eyes on the Prize
http://www.teachertu...
This is a video clip of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of the Civil Rights Movement.

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The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
http://www.teachertu...
This documentary demonstrates the mistreatment of African Americans between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement.

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