Skip to Main Content

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: How Far Have We Come?

Civil Rights Cases Reopened


FBI photographs of slain civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Schwerner

Despite the passing of years, a number of the most infamous crimes of the civil rights movement—the killing of four young girls in the Birmingham church bombing, the KKK mob murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi during Freedom Summer, the gunning down of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in front of his small children, and the torture and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till—have been reopened with renewed vigor and prosecuted with impressive results.

It took 30 years, but the murderer of Medgar Evers was finally brought to justice. And a full four decades passed before the courts were able to convict all living perpetrators of the Birmingham bombing. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, about 22 murder cases have been reopened in the South since 1989, resulting in 25 arrests and 16 convictions.

Read more: Civil Rights Cases Reopened: Medgar Evers, Birmingham Church, Emmet Till | 

Full Text Access to Featured Documents on Display

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Exhibition


Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike

Sanitation workers strike on Beale Street while National Guard patrols

University Libraries' Digital Repository Digital Image © 2011, University of Memphis Libraries Preservation and Special Collections Department.

How to Access the Collections

Books: Reference and Reserve books, along with those located in the Preservation and Special Collections department, are for library use only.  All other copies are available for check-out. If you are not affiliated with the University of Memphis, visit the circulation desk and inquire about a community special privileges card.

CDs, DVDs and Videos: Patrons who affiliated with the U of M may check out most recordings according to established policies; community members may use their special privileges card to listen and view materials in the library.

Databases: Patrons who affiliated with the U of M can access databases and online journals on campus or off-site using their username and password. Visitors who present their special privileges cards to the reference librarian can access these resources using one of the guest computers in the Learning Commons on the first floor of McWherter Library.

Special Collections: All patrons are welcome to contact our Preservation and Special Collections department with inquiries.

Government Publications: The Superintendent of Documents uses an alpha/numeric classification system which assigns a SuDoc number to each publication and classifies each document by the agency or department that issues the document.  For example SuDoc classification A is for materials issued by the Agriculture Department.  Consequently it is impossible to browse the collection since each agency/department issues documents on various subjects. Patrons may check out items from this collection.