Carrying Civil Rights Forward through Scholarship

From Martin Berger’s Freedom Now!. Unidentified photographer, Woman Resisting Arrest, Birmingham, Alabama, April 14, 1963. Courtesy of Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

It’s been 50 years since the March on Washington, and the issues of racial equality and economic justice are just as vital as ever.

UC Press is proud to contribute to the preservation of Martin Luther King’s legacy by publishing The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., a project of The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. King’s most important correspondence, sermons, publications, speeches, unpublished manuscripts, and other material are reproduced chronologically in these six volumes. The series’ Editor, Clayborne Carson, was interviewed this morning on KQED about his memories of of the march and the gulf between ideals and reality expressed in Dr. King’s speech.

Lucy G. Barber’s Marching on Washington: The Forging of an American Political Tradition explains how using the nation’s capital for public protest went from being outside the political order to a new American political norm. Barber shows how highly visible events like the March on Washington contributed to the development of a broader and more inclusive view of citizenship and transformed the capital from the exclusive domain of politicians and officials into a national stage for Americans to participate directly in national politics.

Photographers shot millions of pictures of the black civil rights struggle between the close of World War II and the early 1970s, yet most Americans today can recall just a handful of images that look remarkably similar. Martin Berger’s Freedom Now! presents a collection of forgotten photographs that illustrate the action, heroism, and strength of black activists in driving social and legislative change.

These are just a few texts in UC Press’s extensive catalog of books on African American History and Race and Class. Dive in for an array of groundbreaking works that will inspire, challenge, and perhaps even galvanize you to work for change.