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Civil Rights History Project

The Museum and the Library of Congress have produced a new and invaluable look at the Civil Rights Movement through the Civil Rights History Project (CRHP). Over the course of five years, the personal histories and testimonials of unsung activists of the 1950s and 1960s, were captured, and now, this unique collection of stories is available to all.

The CHRP provides faces and voices to many of the previously unknown individuals who made valuable contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. These members of The Freedom Movement were committed to eliminating racial segregation and inequality in the United States, sometimes at a great cost to themselves, their families, and their community. By organizing voter registration drives, providing, housing, food, and money among many other duties, they worked to transform America and make it a better place. These interviews bear witness to those efforts.

CRHP Interviews

Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009

  • In May, 2009 the U. S. Congress enacted and President Barack H. Obama signed the Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 (CRHP), Public Law 111-19. The legislation authorized the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress to collaborate to preserve the eyewitness accounts of grassroots participants and leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement. The legislation was sponsored by:

    Representative Carolyn McCarthy (NY)
    Representative Sanford D. Bishop (GA)
    Representative William Lacy Clay (MO)
    Representative John Lewis (GA)
    Representative Mike Quigley (IL)
    Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)
    Senator Lamar Alexander (TN)
    Senator Robert F. Bennett (UT)
    Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
    Senator Edward Kennedy (MA)
    Senator Carl Levin (MI)
    Senator Charles Schumer (NY)

Advisory Committee

  • A CRHP Advisory Committee was organized to guide the selection of interviewees. The Committee was composed of acclaimed Civil Rights scholars and activists:

    Thomas C. Battle
    Mia Bay
    Julian Bond
    Taylor Branch
    Millicent Brown
    Tracy E. K‘Meyer
    Clement A. Price
    Bernice Johnson Reagon
    Patricia Sullivan
    Patricia Turner


  • The Southern Oral History Program in the Center for the Study of American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recorded and managed the logistical arrangements of the majority of the interviews under the guidance of Seth Kotch. The interviewers included:

    Julian Bond
    Taylor Branch
    David P. Cline
    Emilye Crosby
    John Dittmer
    Willie J. Griffin
    Hasan Kwame Jeffries
    Joseph Mosnier
    LaFleur Paysour
    Dwandalyn Reece
    Patricia Sullivan
    Kieran Walsh Taylor

Videographers and Technical Support

  • The recording of the interviews was made possible by an extraordinary team of videographers and audio specialists who included:

    UNC-Southern Oral History Program
    John Bishop
    Noah Bishop
    Petna Ndaliko

    The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage staff
    David Barnes
    Aurélie Beatley
    Cristina Diaz-Carrera
    Leon Garcia
    Charles Weber, coordinator
    David Whitfield

    Future View Inc.
    Mark Stoddard
    Christopher Simmons