Race Relations in America

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Based at Fisk University from 1943-1970, the Race Relations Department and its annual Institute were set up by the American Missionary Association to investigate problem areas in race relations and develop methods for educating communities and preventing conflict.

The Department was a highly influential think tank offering a forum for discussion and research on racial topics. The work of the Department highlighted topics such as poverty and inequality, class, housing, employment, education, and government policy. Its program attracted many well-known figures in the Civil Rights Movement, including Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Charles Houston, and Marguerite Cartwright.

Race Relations in America sheds light on the work of the Department through the digitization of extensive records from the Department’s archives, now held at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans.


  • Over 100 hours of audio recordings of speeches given by prominent members of the Civil Rights Movement, eminent sociologists, economists, industrial experts and psychologists
  • A wealth of survey material covering school desegregation, church integration, employment practices, housing and recreation
  • Detailed case studies and community self-surveys on key cities across the United States
  • Campaigns against voter suppression in African American communities to stop poll taxes, unfair literacy tests and intimidation

Provider: Adam Matthew
Coverage: 1943-1970

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