African American Civil Rights Events of the 20th Century: Selected Pictures
This resource guide includes images of key activities and events in the movement for Black civil rights, 1950s-1970s. The selected images are from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division and have no known restrictions on publication.
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Barbara Natanson, Reference Section Head (retired), Prints & Photographs Division
Melissa Lindberg, Reference Specialist
Created: December 2022
Last Updated: February 2023
Note: This guide was adapted from the "The Civil Rights Era in the U.S. News & World Report Photographs Collection: A Select List" web guide created by Barbara Natanson, previously available on the Prints & Photographs Reading Room web site.
The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division has multiple collections that feature photographs from the African American Civil Rights movement. Rights-free images on the subject are less prolific, because they were taken during a period when copyrights could still be in effect. This guide focuses on a selection of images that are considered to have no known copyright restrictions.
These images were selected to meet requests regularly received by the division. Not all of the key events of the era are found in the Prints & Photographs Division collections (for instance, the division does not have photographs that are demonstrably rights-free showing the signing of the 1964 federal civil rights bill and has not found images in the collection showing the signing of 1965 voting rights legislation).
The images can be viewed and downloaded from the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Select the link or image grid below to view the set of images and accompanying descriptions. As additional images are identified that meet the criteria, codes are added to the descriptions to enable the additional images to be retrieved in the set.