Civil Rights & Earlham Archives

Links for Future Research

Ammerman, Nancy. "The Civil Rights Movement and the Clergy in a Southern Community." Sociological Analysis. no. 4 (1980): 339-350.

This article reviews a sociological case study of clergy in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In the study, Ammerman interviews 72 white members of the clergy in this community on their decision to participate or not participate in the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. The author studies the clergy members’ individual backgrounds, social situations, as well as the impact of their attachments to the local community in relation to their actions regarding civil rights. The study interviewed clergy ministers from multiple denominations including Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, and Unitarians. Despite this, I question the reliability of this article because the interviews were conducted from1976-1977. Consequentially, in hindsight many of the ministers probably portrayed themselves to be more favorable towards the civil rights movement than they actually were in reality. However, the study is still useful to my research because it provides useful statistics that connect religious ministers to the civil rights movement.

Chappel, David. "Religious Revivalism in the Civil Rights Movement." African American Review. no. 4 (2002): 581-595.

This article analyzes the impact of religious revivals in the 1950’s and 60’s on the political civil rights movement. Chappel argues that the black church was at the center of the civil rights movement. He believes that religious revivals during the first and second great awakenings ushered in the beginning foundation of the movement. The revivals had political and social affects that leaded to the revolutions in the 60’s. Chappel believes that the revivals encouraged enthusiasm, captivating leaders, and conversion which played an important part in activating people politically. Written in 1993, the author provides reliable information on religion and its impact on the civil rights movement.

Horne, Gerald. ""Myth" and the Making of "Malcolm X"." The American Historical Review. no. 2 (1993): 440-450.

Horne gives a very interesting account of the myths surrounding the legacy of the civil rights leader Malcolm X. This article is directly related to the issues brought up in the two articles I found in The Earlham Word from 1972 and 1989. Likewise, Horne agrees that Malcolm X’s reputation neglects highly relevant information from his life that is not consistent with lessons modern people wish to take from his life. For example, the author brings to light how Spike Lee’s film did not speak to Malcolm’s role in international politics, meeting with leaders in Africa and various other nations. This article is useful because it analyzes how the reputation of black Muslims in the civil rights movement has been skewed to present a more “suitable” narrative to the people in the present.

Houck, Davis, and David Dixon. Rhetoric, Religion, and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006.

Davis and Dixon write this book to show how religion and politics are completely intertwined; both are directly affected by the one another. Particularly, the authors focus on feminist politics and the development of religion from 1954-1965. Furthermore, the book brings to light how breast cancer and disability awareness was triggered as a response from politics and spirituality. This 2006 book is useful to my research because it brings together religion, politics, and femininity in a way that outlines the foundations of the civil rights movement.

LaFayette, Bernard. Center for American Progress, "The Role of Religion in the Civil Rights Movement." Accessed April 6, 2014.

This work by LaFayette, director of Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island, gives us an overview of the importance of religion and the church in the civil rights movement. The author recalls how our country was founded on the intervention of church leaders into political affairs, particularly in the American Revolution. Furthermore, the author explains how many of the protest songs of the 1960’s originated from gospel hymns that were sang in churches of various faiths. LaFayette believes these songs of faith were a unifying element for the participants in the movement because most if not all could relate and understand the message that they hymns implied. Furthermore, the author goes into detail of the Birmingham bus boycott and the March on Washington as examples where the church was directly involved in major events of the civil rights movement. This work is useful to my research because its topic is exactly under my area of study. The author gives clear concise points and is beneficial for someone who is interested in a brief, overview of the topic.

Malcolm X, , and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York, NY: Grove Press, 1965.

This book, a collaboration of Malcolm X’s own work and interviews conducted by Alex Haley from 1963-1965, outlines the entire life of this civil rights leader. Most importantly, the book reviews the periods of Malcolm X’s life where he converted to Islam and joined up with Elijah Muhammad. Also, the book spends a substantial amount of time describing his views black pride and especially Black Nationalism. For example, the authors discuss how Malcolm visited with several African leaders in hope of gaining black unification across the globe. He believed that blacks were treated so poorly in the United States because they were a minority. However, Malcolm argued that if they could rise up together, the white authority would have no choice but to treat them as equals. The most interesting aspect of this book is the discussion of his early life, explaining how a young man involved in organized crime grew up to be a leader of the Nation of Islam as well as an incredible civil rights leader. This book has been a great addition to research on this topic because it discusses the role of Islam in the civil rights movement and also a glimpse of many of the issues surrounding the struggle in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Manis, Andrew Michael. Southern Civil Religions in Conflict: Black and White Baptists and Civil Rights, 1947-1957. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987.

This book views the Civil Rights Struggle as a clash of two religions opposed to a fight between races. As a case study, Manis analyzes both the white and black Baptists in the south during the 1960’s. He shows how both sides believed that their argument in the struggle were morally right and backed up by both God and the Bible. Particularly, the issue of segregation brought forth the most religious sentiments in the arguments. The Black Baptists would cite freedom under law and equality under God. Meanwhile, the White argument would consist of individual rights, using the Bible for support of segregation of the races. This book is beneficial to my study because it focuses on the struggle between religious sects during the movement. Also, it brings to light the fact that many of the arguments for and against civil rights were inherently religious which increased the passion behind the struggle for both sides.


Mayer, Ann Elizabeth. Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991.

This book is more of a generalized analysis of Islam and human rights. Instead of only offering an account of black Muslims during the 60’s in the US, this book looks at the faith as a whole, internationally in order to get a better grasp on the religion. Mayer’s book is useful to my research because it allows us to see the origins of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam’s views on human rights, civil rights, and social conditions in the United States. Despite this, the book also presents some contradictions between Islam as a faith and Malcolm X’s views. For example, Islam has a history of restriction on human rights, particularly in regard to women’s roles in society compared to men. Written in 1991, the book is relatively dated; however, the author uses very good source material which directly confronts the issue of tradition in relation to politics.

Ross, Rosetta. Witnessing and Testifying: Black Women, Religion, and Civil Rights. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003.

This book focuses on prominent female civil rights activists in the south as well as the bravery these women who stood up and testified against perpetrators of racial violence amidst much danger and intimidation. Also, Ross writes about Clara Muhammad and her role in the development of the Nation of Islam as well as her religious and moral perspectives. In addition, Ross mentions many other female activists who pushed for education and full citizenship by empowering local people in their communities. Ross’s book is beneficial because it is a very recent novel that looks at the role of women in the civil rights movement and how they used religion as a tool to lead African Americans in the south.  

Wagner, William. "Refelctions on the Symposium: An Ordered Inquiry into the Relation of Civil Rights Law and Religion." Journal of Law and Religion. no. 1 (1987).

This article relates politics and religion in an attempt to make the readers better understand civil rights law. Furthermore, Wagner argues that since civil rights law is inherently moral that religion is thus associated with its provisions. Despite this, the author does not believe the connection between religion and law is always a bad thing. For example, Wagner suggests that since religion is implicated within these laws, citizens are more likely to get on board and accept the legislation given its foundation in morality. This article is useful in my research because it directly confronts the issues surrounding religion and civil rights, how the two worked together while at the same time causing complexities with their overlap. Written in 1987, Wagner gives a relatively modern account of the civil rights movement, certainly using accurate sources and information that add to the overall legitimacy of the work. 


By Adam Warning