51 years of history was unlearned

Brandon M. VerBurg, 8th Grade Holland New Tech High School, Holland, MI.   I love to study the past, and history is filled with turning points. Points that change the world. One that is being missed often is Civil Rights. Back in 1964 the movement was passed. It was passed so that race wouldn’t be an […]

I am grace, power and inextinguishable

Ryan Brooke Taylor, New York City, NY. Collected from: WITNESS: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at The Brooklyn Museum My experience as a black male artist is directly related to the sacrifices and gains made by those who participated, in any and every way in the civil rights movement. They have made me […]

Too Easy Pretending Race Doesn’t Matter

M. M. S., Morris, MN. Growing up white means that you never have to notice that you are represented in the media more than any other race is, even in situations where that should not be the case (-Exodus: Gods and Kings- I’m looking at you). It means that it’s so easy to turn away […]

Does My Voice Count At All?

Samantha Zrada, Plymouth Meeting, PA Does my voice really count on this topic? I am a white female who grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, went to school with mainly white children, and never experienced any racism directed toward me or my family. I am thankful to say that I am fortunate. And yet, […]


I’m amazed at Lillian Smith’s courage.

Bob Thomas, Rabun Gap, GA. I have been working on a web site for the Lillian E. Smith Foundation located in Rabun County, Georgia. In doing research for the project I’m learning more and more about a remarkable woman who as a Southerner spoke out frankly and with unflinching certainty against segregation. As an author […]

Racism lives on, yet it’s hidden.

Dana Tuohey, Syracuse, NY. Community Member I believe that racism is more harmful now to society than ever. I believe this is so because we have convinced ourselves that slavery and the civil rights movements were “victories” for the minorities of our society and we no longer owe it to the other races to continue […]

Race mattered then. It matters now.

Phyll, Fort Worth, TX. At 62 years old, I am a child of thw Civil Rights struggles. When my son was born in 1971, I was committed to raising him without the excess baggage of race. It didn’t take but one sleepover for his Pee Wee Football team that the White boys weren’t allow to […]

I am a proud Asian American

Jake, USA. Empowerment and civil rights for African Americans has not always translated into equality for those with Asian backgrounds. We may be viewed as model minorities but often we face discrimination and racism, especially from the African American community. One would think given the civil right movement, they would have understood what it meant […]

I was told racism was over.

Kalie Marsicsno, Hanover, NH. I grew up with the misinformation that the civil rights movement had ended successfully, rather than learning that racism and systematic oppression still dominates our daily life.

Rosa, is the balcony really better?

Jeff Howard Washington DC It took me 50 years and working in depth on civil rights movement history to suddenly realize that an incident in my early childhood revolved entirely around race. My family’s Black nanny, born and raised in Culpeper VA was so intent on seeing West Side Story when it hit the local […]

Progressives destroyed race relations in America.

Stacey Seattle, WA The Civil Rights movement was hijacked by progressives. Since that time, they have destroyed Dr. King’s “Dream”. The virtual enslavement of the near-entirety of America’s black populace to the statist ideological plantation is destroying any hope of reconciling the differences between majority & minority. No longer is a man encouraged to exhibit […]

Recognize your gifts. Stop your crying!

Ben Colafrancesco Casper, WY At 51, I’ve been engaged in civil rights my entire life.I’m tired now. Give me your gifts. I have Cerebral Palsy. I will never catch a football in a game, college or the pros. I’ll never be an athlethe. People will just feel sorry for me.I’m no less a man than […]

Hybrid Asian identity disconnected from roots

Shen Lin Philadelphia, PA I’m originally from mainland China but spent most of my developmental years in Europe. After moving to the US I realized the extent to which people are able to connect so deeply with their racial heritage and express their opinions so freely in this country is enviable by the standards of […]

It reminds me freedom is possible.

Mickey Lambert New York City, NY Brooklyn In a time that most people think of as a “post-civil-rights” era, in many ways, we are more tied up in injustice and inequality than ever. These images and sounds are a reminder that social justice looks like something more encompassing.


OTI OBOH New York City, NY Brooklyn I’m Nigerian born raised in the US and find my fluidity in my identity as Nigerian, as American and as Nigerian-American flow in the different spaces I occupy. The Civil Rights allowed for more expansion of African people to occupy different parts in the world.

It embodies America’s hope and tragedy

Nick Rabkin Chicago, IL So much of who I am is comes from my sense that the fight for civil rights is really the fight for the real American dream. I was active in the campaign to elect Harold Washington mayor of Chicago, and I worked in his administration. Harold!

Pain, black reaction OJ Simpson verdict

David J. Shapiro New York City, NY Manhattan After so much sacrifice, blood, time and heartache by whites who supported the Civil Rights Movements, to watch and hear the jubilation of a “not guilty” verdict from a community who benefited from that work, for a man who brutally murdered two whites, I was heart-struck.

This history My life My legacy

Saundra Thomas New York City, NY My life began at the start of the civil rights movement. 1962. the music of the civil rights movement is the soundtrack of my childhood. I grew up black in a mixed community, too black to befriend the whites and too “white” to befriend the blacks….and lesbian. my legacy […]


Racism: prejudging ANYONE based on race.

Jeff, Arvada, CO. I was raised in a military town with such overwhelming diversity that I didn’t realize race was an issue until I was 12 and went into foster care. Suddenly I was surrounded by a predominantly African-American group that hated me because I was white. Now let me be clear I didn’t assume […]

White, but never belonged = peopleless.

Ricki Fowler Bedford, VA While growing up, I spent 5 years in a town hostile to outsiders. I’d always been unlike other children, but there, I was bullied by the kids at school and punished by the adults for being bullied. I’d been reading about the trials of African-Americans during the civil rights movement (then […]

Allows me to celebrate my birthday

Nathaniel Hunt Glen Burnie, MD My parents are an interracial couple. I am a homosexual young man. And today is my 23rd birthday. Without the Civil Rights Movement, my parents would not have had the courage or approval to find, love, and marry each other. Without it, I may never have been born and if […]

Opportunity, creativity, and education are essential.

Cynthia Farrell Johnson Silver Spring, MD First, the Civil Rights Movement opened doors, allowing me to train as a visual artist, and also study art history. The Movement forced changes in hiring practices which enabled me to have a rewarding career as a diplomat, traveling the globe conducting cultural diplomacy programs. I thank God every […]

Stand up, don’t be silent, Fight Continues

Amy New York City, NY Brooklyn The power of everyday people to stand up and not take racism, sexism, anti-semetism, homophobia as okay. We must fight and always speak out. We cannot be silent, even when it seems like the hatred is focussed on “others” because we are all humans and one person being put […]


Integration ended my neighborhood’s block party.

Shoshana Hoose Portland, OR I grew up in an all-white neighborhood in Newington, Ct. My mother’s best friend, a Quaker, and her husband sold their home to an African-American family in 1966 as part of an organized effort to integrate the Hartford suburbs. My Dad, a lawyer and state legislator, handled the legal work. When […]

The Civil Rights Movement is Different

Tiana Icesis Bryant New York City, NY Brooklyn My six words are like the Civil Rights Movement is different from any other subject, more independent, it’s a Lone Ranger. All the other things people say that’s important are not really because they are backed up with some things. People back everything up that’s important to […]

Such power in words and action

Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every word and every action in life has such extreme consequences. The Civil Rights movement reminds me that the choice to make your words and actions negative or positive prove who you are as a person

We still don’t have equal opportunities.

Stanley Umeweni Philadelphia, PA I am Stanley Umeweni, and I am a high school student from Central High School in Philadelphia, PA. I chose these six words because after a little over 50 years after the Civil-Rights Movement, not all races have equal opportunity. Even with laws and policies, such as Affirmative Action, the color […]

I knew that these things happened, just not on this level.

Rachel K. McCain New York City, NY Brooklyn Hello, I’m Rachel. I’m eleven years old. Thanks for sharing this wonderful art and information with everyone. I know my story was more than six words, but it was important to use all the words.I was taught about the civil rights movement in school, but the teachers […]

How much more I gotta give?

Deria Matthews Germantown, MD The work of civil rights activists and social justice workers alike is exhausting, emotionally taxing and just takes a lot out of you. People have given their entire lives to this fight against racial oppression in America and I want to know how much longer until the country takes accountability and […]

But you speak English so well!

Lisa Lee San Francisco, CA Asian Americans are constantly reminded that they don’t “belong” in America, despite their contributions of building up this great nation. We are reminded in ways big and small, such as the seemingly harmless remark of “but you speak English so well!” The Civil Rights Movement paved the way for all […]

I am proud of my heritage

Patricia Wilson Laurel, MD I am a baby boomer and I grew up in the era of segregation, lynching, blatant discrimination, marches, race riots, sit ins, boycotts, fighting for the rights to be treated as human beings, fighting for the right to vote; as well as the right to be recognized as a female with […]

Love has no color, hate does

Carol Carrow Bodofsky Edison, NJ Born in 1950, I have lived through changes that were long overdue. In the sixties, as much as my friends and I worked to eliminate prejudice and discrimination, we had no idea how bad it actually was in our country. Only looking back through photo and video journalism of the […]

1950’s – Mother worked for Civil Rights

Anne Elizabeth Wolfe San Rafael, CA My mother grew up in the South . She worked for Civil Rights in the 1950’s and was called a Communist. The label was erroneous as her ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and Civil War (relatives fought on both sides). My mother was not a Communist, but the […]

I listened in apartheid South Africa

Ann Karson Asheville, NC In 1963, I was an active member of the Liberal Party of South Africa, a small, multi-racial group, a political party made up of people opposed to apartheid who wanted that opposition to be fully non-racial. We were liberal in that sense, not economically: some of us were capitalists, some socialists. […]

Lived with black guys in college.

Artie Dee Franklin, IN My first real contact with black people was living with some black guys in college. There were restaurants, in the mid 50’s where we were refused service if our black friends were with us.