Fight for Racial Justice and the Civil Rights Congress

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The Civil Rights Congress (CRC) was a civil rights organization formed in 1946 by a merger of the International Labor Defense and the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties. It became known for involvement in civil rights cases such as the Trenton Six and justice for Isaiah Nixon. The CRC also held multiple high profile protests in Washington DC and at the UN. Due to its Communist Party affiliations, the CRC was cited as subversive and communist by U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s Attorney General Thomas Clark. This collection comprises the Legal Case and Communist Party files of the Civil Rights Congress, documenting the many issues and litigation in which the CRC was involved during its 10-year existence. These papers provide valuable insight on the activities of the Civil Rights Congress, most notably in cases involving civil rights and civil liberties issues, such as those of Willie McGee (Mississippi), Rosa Lee Ingram (Georgia), Paul Washington (Louisiana), Robert Wesley Wells (California), the Trenton Six (New Jersey), the Martinsville Seven (Virginia), and many others.

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Archives Unbound Series

Introducing Archives Unbound -- a vast new resource that combines the best of legacy microfilms from Gale and Primary Source Media and new, never-before-filmed collections. Specifically developed to address the needs of individual scholars, universities, and organizations, Archives Unbound is unique not only for its expansive, multi-disciplinary content but also for the distinct new intuitive search platform by which it is accessed.

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  • Major Civil Rights Congress campaigns on behalf of black defendants included the cases of Willie McGee, the Martinsville Seven, the Trenton Six, and Rosa Lee Graham.
  • The CRC was also instrumental in publicizing the lynching of Emmett Till and pressing authorities for prosecution of his murderers.
  • CRC campaigns helped pioneer many of the tactics that civil rights movement activists would employ in the late 1950s and 1960s.
  • The CRC was among the first organizations to expose American racism in the international arena and to connect it to United States Cold War foreign policy in the decolonizing world.
  • In 1951 these efforts climaxed when William Patterson presented his landmark study "We Charge Genocide" to the General Assembly of the United Nations.