Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

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Congress of Racial Equality march.jpg
Congress of Racial Equality march in Washington DC on 22 September 1963 in memory of the victims of the Birmingham bombing. The banner, which says “No more Birminghams,” shows a picture of the aftermath of the bombing.

Founded in 1942, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) promoted the use of nonviolent tactics to help African Americans secure equal rights with whites. James L. Farmer, Jr., Bernice Fisher, and George Houser established the organization in Chicago, Illinois. CORE included white and black members from across the United States and was especially popular among college students. By the 1960s, CORE had become one of the leading organizations of the Civil Rights Movement.

CORE members sought to desegregate hotels, restaurants, theaters, and other public places in the North. As CORE experienced success in the North and its membership grew, the organization began to play an active role in the South as well. Members participated in sit-ins in a number of businesses across the North and the South. During the 1950s and 1960s, CORE took a leading role in desegregating interstate travel with "freedom rides" and other activities. CORE members also played an important part in registering African Americans to vote in the South during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Members of CORE also participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963.

By 1968, activists working for racial equality had achieved a number of successes over the previous two decades. A number of African Americans began to question white involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and to reject the nonviolent forms of protest advocated by Martin Luther King, Jr., and organizations such as CORE. Some of these people supported the "Black Power Movement." In July 1968, CORE held a convention in Columbus, Ohio, where some African-American members recommended expelling the group's white members. Today, CORE is open to people of all races.

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