Our Favorite Civil Rights Books

The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington has 2 Dope Sistahs thinking about the Civil Rights Movement. Often the narrative is decidedly male-centered, so we decided to share some our favorite books that focus on women’s activism.


Melba Patillo Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High


Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi


Chana Kai Lee, For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer


Elizabeth Martinez, ed., Letters from Mississippi: Reports from Civil Rights Volunteers and Freedom School Poetry of the 1964 Freedom Summer


Howell Raines, My Soul is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered


Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson


Charles M. Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle


Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement


Vicki L. Crawford, Jacqueline Anne Rouse, Barbara Woods, eds., Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, 1941-1965


Lynee Olson, Freedom’s Daughters : The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement

There are great resources on the internet. We have included a few links below:

Malcolm X vs. Bayard Rustin Debate (January 1962)

Martin Luther King, Jr., A Letter From a Birmingham Jail (April 1963)

Martin Luther King, Jr., Speech at the Great March on Detroit (June 1963)

Fannie Lou Hamer’s Testimony, Democratic National Convention (August 1964)



2 thoughts on “Our Favorite Civil Rights Books

  1. Thanks for sharing this list, Da Realist 1. As you know, my area of study is mostly Black Nationalism, and this list has made it clear that I have a lot of reading to do. The Ann Moody book is first on my list.

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