home banner

Civil Rights During the Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963

Location: Microfilm JC 599 U5 C55


Part 1: is drawn from three record groups at the JFK Library: the White House Central Files, the White House Staff Files, and the President’s Office Files. The Central Files were designed as a reference service for the President and his staff. They contain the complete White House documentary subject files on all key civil rights issues: activities relating to racial equality in the states; campaigns for equality in housing, education, employment, and voting; and White House support for proposed civil rights legislation.

The White House Staff Files feature the papers of staff members who had key positions in counseling the President on the civil rights issue.

The President’s Office Files contain documents that highlight the efforts of the White House to push its race-related legislative proposals through Congress. In addition, they include memoranda and background papers on such subjects as the March on Washington, the Alabama and Mississippi crises, and White House meetings with civil rights leaders.

The following list represents just a sampling of the many documents, reports, and papers to be found in Part 1.

  • Civil Rights Program: Legislative Possibilities (1961)
  • Radical Differences among the National Urban League, the NAACP, and the SCLC (1961)
  • Confidential White House Memo: “Priorities in an Effective Federal Civil Rights Program” (1961)
  • Use of U.S. Marshals To Protect Freedom Riders (1961)
  • Manifesto of the Albany (Ga.) Movement Presented by the SCLC (1962)
  • March on Washington: Report by the Leaders (1963)
  • The FBI’s Role in the Field of Civil Rights (1963)
  • The Economic Impact of Racial Unrest (1963)
  • Wallace-JFK Telegrams regarding the Use of Federal Troops in Birmingham (1963)

Part 2: reproduces the Justice Department files of Burke Marshall, assistant attorney general for civil rights. As the leading Justice Department official charged with carrying out the Kennedy administration’s mandate regarding civil rights, Burke Marshall was instrumental in developing and executing federal civil rights policy in three areas: using the power of federal law enforcement to help protect civil rights advocates; filing federal lawsuits—literally hundreds of them—to try to stop discrimination in schools, voting, jobs, and housing; and drafting and successfully sponsoring the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most important civil rights legislation of the century.” (LexisNexis).

How to search the collection

There is a guide for each part of the collection.  Each guide provides a reel index and a subject index.


Civil Rights During the Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963.  Microfilm  JC 599 U5 C55 1987 pt.1-2 Guides.

For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:

John F. Kennedy Library.

African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.

Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.

United States -- Politics and government -- 1961-1963 -- Sources.

Time Period: 20th Century  

Subject keywords: African American Studies, Civil Rights