Section IV: A Change Is Gonna Come

Document List
I have a dream. --Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963

World War II forced the United States to reconsider how it defined personal freedoms and equality under the law. In countless acts of protest, organizations and individuals continued the struggle for equal rights. Court rulings and legislation, such as the Civil Rights Act (1964), strengthened the march toward equality.

Photograph, Martin Luther King in Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, August 28, 1963
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Photograph, Martin Luther King in Civil Rights March on Washington, DC,
August 28, 1963

Miscellaneous Subjects, Staff and Stringer Photographs National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency, Record Group 306 (National Archives Identifier 542014)

Dr. King's powerful words inspired generations of Americans, but it was his dedication to the concept of nonviolence that was the hallmark by which he continues to be remembered.

Booklet, The Montgomery Improvement Association, ca. 1960
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Booklet, “The Montgomery Improvement Association,” ca. 1960

National Archives-Atlanta, Records of District Courts of the United States (National Archives Identifier 2641476)

As president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, Martin Luther King advocated nonviolent mass protest, such as the boycotting of buses. This approach became the model for protesting racial segregation.

Advertisement, Heed Their Rising Voices, New York Times, March 29, 1960
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Advertisement, “Heed Their Rising Voices,” New York Times, March 29, 1960

National Archives-Atlanta, Records of District Courts of the United States (National Archives Identifier 2641477)

In March 1960, supporters of Martin Luther King and the movement for equality placed an advertisement in the New York Times, which was signed by 100 prominent Americans from all walks of life.

Will you join the struggle? --Martin Luther King, ca. 1960
Photograph, Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, August 28, 1963
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Photograph, Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, August 28, 1963

Miscellaneous Subjects, Staff and Stringer Photographs National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency, Record Group 306 (National Archives Identifier 542045)

Photograph, Couple Protesting Desegregation, R. W. Kelley v. City of Nashville, 1957
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Photograph, Couple Protesting Desegregation,
R. W. Kelley v. City of Nashville, 1957

Civil Case Files National Archives, Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21 (National Archives Identifier 2641478)

Photograph, Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, August 28, 1963
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Photograph, Civil Rights March on Washington, DC, August 28, 1963

Miscellaneous Subjects, Staff and Stringer Photographs National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency, Record Group 306 (National Archives Identifier 542044)

[E]qual and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world --United Nations Resolution, December 10, 1948 Continue
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