In celebration of Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the University of Mary Washington honors distinguished professor Dr. James Farmer’s outstanding life and achievements.
Farmer was the founder of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the organizer of the 1961 Freedom Rides. Combined with other non-violent acts, the Freedom Rides paved the way for the Kennedy and later Johnson administrations to align themselves more decisively in support of Civil Rights and the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Bill of 1964.
Materials documenting Farmer’s early civil rights contributions are housed at the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History (see A Guide to the James Leonard, Jr., and Lula Peterson Farmer Papers.) Records from Farmer’s later years, along with a rich trove of audio-visual materials spanning his career are housed in UMW’s University Archives. Additional resources on Farmer’s civil rights legacy are available in the James Farmer and the Freedom Rides research guide and in the finding aid of his close friend and colleague, William B. Hanson, located in the Virginia Heritage database.