Civil Rights Leaders
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growth consisted almost entirely of white middle-class college students from the
Midwest. CORE pioneered the strategy of nonviolent direct action, especially the
tactics of sit-ins, jail-ins, and freedom rides.
In 1947, CORE organized the first Freedom Ride, Known as the Journey of
Reconciliation. CORE provided guidance for action in the aftermath of the 1960
sit-in of four college students at a Greensboro, North Carolina lunch counter,
and subsequently became a nationally recognized civil rights organization. As
pioneers of the sit-in tactic the organization offered support in Greensboro and
organized sit-ins throughout the South. CORE members then developed the strategy
of the jail-in, serving out their sentences for sit-ins rather than paying bail.
May of 1961 CORE organized the Freedom
Rides, modeled after their earlier Journey of Reconciliation.
Near Birmingham, Alabama a bus was firebombed and riders were beaten by a white
mob. Despite this violent event, CORE continued to locate field secretaries in
key areas of the South to provide support for the riders.
the end of 1961, CORE had 53 affiliated chapters, and they remained active in
southern civil rights activities for the next several years. CORE participated
heavily in President Kennedy's Voter Education Project (VEP) and also
co-sponsored the 1963 March on Washington.
In 1964 CORE participated in the Mississippi Freedom
Summer project; three activists killed that summer in an infamous
Goodman and Michael
Schwerner, were members of CORE. By 1963 CORE had already shifted
attention to segregation. In 1964 the CORE members played a significant role in
organizing both Freedom Summer and Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The CORE truly helped the civil