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Topic: Congress of Racial Equality

Goal of the presentation: to inform the class about the mission, members, activities and plans of the Congress of Racial Equality

Time period: 1942-2007

The Congress of Racial Equality or CORE is a U.S. civil rights organization that played an essential role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century.

Membership in CORE is stated to be open to "anyone who believes that 'all people are created equal' and is willing to work towards the ultimate goal of true equality throughout the world."

It is officially classified as a philanthropic omnibus human rights organization.

Foundation of CORE:

* by a group of students in Chicago in 1942

* Early members included George Houser, James Farmer, Anna Murray and Bayard Rustin.

* Members were mainly pacifists (CORE evolved out of the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation.)

* deeply influenced by Henry David Thoreau and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi

* tried to implement the nonviolent civil disobedience campaign that M. Gandi used successfully against British rule in India.

* The students became convinced that the same methods could be employed by blacks to obtain civil rights in America.

* The Congress of Racial Equality sought to apply the principles of nonviolence as a tactic against segregation

The group's inspiration:

Krishnalal Shridharani's book "War without Violence" (1939, Harcourt Brace) outlined Gandhi's step-by-step procedures for organizing people and mounting a nonviolent campaign. Shridharani, a popular writer and journalist as well as a vibrant and theatrical speaker, had been a protege of Gandhi and had been jailed in the Salt March. Gandhi had, in turn, been influenced by the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Mohandas Gandhi was then still engaged in non-violent resistance against British rule in India. The group believed that nonviolent civil disobedience could be used by African-Americans to challenge racial segregation in the South and eventually other parts of the United States.

In early 1947, CORE announced plans to send eight white and eight black men into the Deep South to test the Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. Organized by George Houser and Bayard Rustin, the Journey of Reconciliation was to be a two week pilgrimage through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Journey of Reconciliation began on 9th April, 1947.

Members of the Journey of Reconciliation team were arrested several times. The Journey of Reconciliation achieved a great deal of publicity and was the start of a long campaign of direct action by the Congress of Racial Equality.

In February 1948 the Council Against Intolerance in America gave Houser and Bayard Rustin the Thomas Jefferson Award for the Advancement of Democracy for their attempts to bring an end to segregation in interstate travel.

CORE, SNCC and NAACP also established 30 Freedom Schools in towns throughout Mississippi. Volunteers taught in the schools and the curriculum now included black history, the philosophy of the civil rights movement. During the summer of 1964 over 3,000 students attended these schools and the experiment provided a model for future educational programs such as Head Start.

Time changes:

CORE is the third oldest and one of the "Big Four" civil rights groups in the United States.

* From the protests against "Jim Crow" laws of the 40's

* through the "Sit-ins" of the 50's,

* the "Freedom Rides" of the 60's,

* the cries for "Self-Determination" in the 70's,

* "Equal Opportunity" in the 80's,

* community development in the 90's,

* to the current demand for equal access to information,

CORE has championed true equality.

CORE today:

Under the banner of "TRUTH! LOGIC! & COURAGE!", CORE continues to promote harmony and healing in all



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