Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle

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Article in Adult Nonfiction, African American, Diversity, and Historical

Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle is an initiative developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of its Bridging Cultures Initiative, to use four powerful documentary films to help spark community discussion about the Civil Rights Movement in America. This page is to help promote understanding about these films, about the Civil Rights, and to collect resources available from JMRL that will be helpful in understanding this historic movement.

Created Equal: Film-Based Discussion Event Series at JMRL

JMRL will host a series of programs available at the Central Library to promote this initiative in January and February 2015.

Created Equal: A Film-Based Discussion Series on the Civil Rights

Thursdays, 6pm. See dates below.

Join JMRL and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights in a community discussion of the Civil Rights Movement and its ongoing effects on society. Each evening features segments of award-winning documentaries focused on one aspect of the Civil Rights Movement, and ends with audience discussions led by prominent community members and scholars. Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

January 15, 2015 – The Abolitionists

Discussion leaders: L.D. Perry (UVA), Prof. Maurice Wallace (UVA)

Watch the film in full for FREE online or at JMRL: The Abolitionists - Check out at JMRL or Watch Online at

January 29, 2015 – Slavery By Another Name

Discussion leaders: L.D. Perry (NAACP), Prof. Lisa Woolfork (UVA)

Watch the film in full for FREE online or at JMRL: Slavery by Another Name - Check out at JMRL or Watch Online at

February 12, 2015 – Freedom Riders

Discussion leaders: L.D. Perry (NAACP), Prof. Grace Hale (UVA)

Watch the film in full for FREE online or at JMRL: Freedom Riders - Check out at JMRL or Watch Online at

February 26, 2015 – The Loving Story

Discussion leaders: L.D. Perry (NAACP), Charlene Green (Charlottesville Office of Human Rights) and partner Bekah Saxon (Virginia Education Association), Sarah (Charlottesville Office of Human Rights) & Arun Krishnaraj (UVA Hospital)

Watch the film in full for FREE online or at JMRL: The Loving Story - Check out at JMRL or Watch Online at

Learn More: Themes and Further Reading

The Abolitionists


American Antislavery Writings: Colonial Beginnings to Emancipation, ed. by James G. Basker

A collection of fiction, poems, essays, autobiographies, and speeches which document a history of responses to slavery.

John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights by David S. Reynolds

The account of John Brown’s work against slavery, including the conflicts in Kansas, and his raid on Harper’s Ferry, for which he was sentenced to death, but gained national attention for the cause.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass

The autobiography of the great abolitionist documenting his life as a slave, his education, and his escape from slavery, which led to his work as a leader against slavery.

The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation by David Brion Davis

A historic compendium documenting slavery in the Americas, including religious influence on the movement, and the importance of freed slaves to the abolitionist movement.

A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation by David W. Blight

The narratives of two runaway slaves who successfully escape to the Union forces. Accompanying autobiographies discuss their childhoods in slavery, their service in the Civil War, and their lives following.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Stowe’s pivotal 1852 novel that sparked empathy for the abolitionist movement, and which became the best-selling novel of the 19th century.

Slavery By Another Name


Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon

This exceptional book that inspired the documentary uncovers the truth about the Reconstruction era Jim Crow South where African Americans were subjugated to slave-like conditions or worse through the processes of convict-leasing, illegal peonage, and sharecropping.

Freedom’s Children: The Journey from Emancipation into the Twentieth Century by Velma Maia Thomas

An exquisite collection of photographs and removable documents that bring to life the story of freedmen and freedwomen during the Reconstruction era into the twentieth century.Sequel to Lest We Forget, which documents the slave experience from Africa to Southern servitude.

Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South ed. by William H. Chafe, Raymond Gavins, and Robert Korstad

A compendium of stories by black southerners who witnessed a troublesome time in American history, this book and CD set presents an extensive oral history of African American life under segregation and racial oppression of the Jim Crow South.

Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement by Patricia Sullivan

A look at the early history of the NAACP that started to stand up for African American civil rights and demand change from a government that looked the other way.

Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow by Leon F. Litwack

A harrowing account of the injustices that black southerners faced institutionally and personally in the era under Jim Crow.

Freedom Riders


On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail by Charles E. Cobb, Jr.

Take a paper tour of the Civil Rights movement through Virginia and other Southern states, including information along the routes of the Freedom Rides through the Deep South.

The Civil Rights Movement: An Eyewitness History by Sandford Wexler

Take a look specifically at the Chapter 6: “The Sit-ins and Freedom Rides: 1960-61” for detailed accounts of the Freedom Riders and their routes, including special eyewitness testimonies, to get a glimpse at how these nonviolent protests made progress for the movement.

Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement by Ann Bausum

The story of two Freedom Riders and their journeys that brought them together to unite for a dangerous yet worthy cause.

Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement by James Farmer

The autobiography of the man who co-founded CORE and organized the first Freedom Rides that gained international attention for the Civil Rights Movement.

The Race Beat : The Press, The Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff

A focus on how the press played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement, with select chapters on the Freedom Riders.

Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis with Michael D'Orso

Walk in the shoes of legendary Freedom Rider John Lewis in this epic memoir of a man who made change a reality.

The Loving Story


Forbidden Love: The Secret History of Mixed-Race America by Gary B. Nash

This book discusses how in America, regardless of laws, people and their cultures have mixed throughout its history, despite how desperately those in power have tried to keep them apart.

Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality by Jo Becker

Follows the legal challenge against California’s ban on same-sex marriage, which forced the issue of same-sex marriage in the US Supreme Court, drawing comparisons with the Loving v. Virginia, from this Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist.

Love in Black and White by Mary Motley Kalergis

Affirming and uplifting interviews of more than forty interracial couples are completed with beautiful photographs that show the love inherent in each of these relationships as they discuss the obstacles they’ve overcome.

Loving v. Virginia: Lifting the Ban Against Interracial Marriage by Susan Dudley Gold

A succinct narrative of interracial marriage, the Loving v. Virginia case, and how this landmark case applies to same-sex marriage - in 120 pages.

Redeeming the Dream: the Case for Marriage Equality by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson

The inside story of The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 written by the lawyers who argued the case.

Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America by Sharon Davies

A narrative nonfiction tale that records the 1921 crime of a Birmingham Methodist minister who kills a Catholic priest for marrying the minister’s daughter to a Puerto Rican migrant, and who brought future US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black to lead his defense. This fast-paced story examines the bigotry of the Jim Crow as it pertains not only to blacks, but of Catholics, and foreigners as well.

Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers: Interracial Marriage Bans and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving by Phyl Newbeck

A look at the history of interracial marriage in the US, with a focus on the case of Richard and Mildred Loving.

Charlottesville in the Civil Rights Struggle

More Information About the Created Equal Initiative

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

  • Visit the Created Equal website by the NEH for all the official information about this initiative, including more videos documenting the Civil Rights struggle, get more information about other events around the country, and how this initiative began.
  • The Public Programming Guide contains scholar essays, information about the documentaries, themes from the films, and much more.