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AFROAMER/GWS 625: Gender, Race, & Civil Rights (Spring 2022) : Archival Sources

Wisconsin Historical Society Archives

The Wisconsin Historical Society is has one of the richest collections documenting the Civil Rights Movement in the country. The civil rights collections primarily date from the 1950s through the 1980s and are particularly strong in the areas of the southern movement, principally Mississippi; national organizations; and Wisconsin. Highlights include extensive materials on the Congress of Racial Equality, civil rights advocates Daisy Bates and Amzie Moore, the Highlander Center, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, 75 Freedom Summer volunteers, the Southern Conference Educational Fund, Carl and Anne Braden, James Dombrowski, and many other lesser-known organizations and activists.

We are happy to welcome students into the archives, no appointment needed.


How to Find Archival Collections in the Library Catalog

Digital Wisconsin Historical Society Archival Collections

The Wisconsin Historical Society has digitized some of its most highly-used archival material. Access is open to all.

More Digital Collections & Databases

These are just a few of the many rich databases of original source documents that are available digitally. Links marked with an asterisk (*) indicate that it is a library subscription database and will require you to log in with your NetID.

On This Page

This page provides guidance on finding archival material pertinent to your research area both online and in-person.

But what, exactly are archives? Unlike materials held in libraries, which have all been published (meaning, they were created with the intention of making many copies available to many people), archives are unpublished material. They are evidence of everyday life and business created for a purpose other than having them used by outside people. Archives can be any format of material, such as letters, diaries, meeting minutes, photographs, or tweets. Archival collections are kept together in groups based on their creator.

Local Archives

Archival sources are available in physical format in many locations on campus Madison. This is a list of some locations of interest: