Many people have heard the name but really do not know the pivotal role the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) played for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. The organization was founded in 1942 and was one of the “Big Four” civil rights organizations. Here are a few other facts you should know about the organization.
1. CORE was founded in Chicago in March 1942. Among the founding members were James L. Farmer, Jr., George Houser, James R. Robinson, Samuel E. Riley, Bernice Fisher, Homer Jack, and Joe Guinn.
2. CORE introduced a small group of civil rights activists to the idea of achieving change through nonviolence, but during these years, its chapters were all in the North and its membership predominantly white and middle class.
3. In 1955, CORE went into the South and provided nonviolence training to demonstrators during the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. Soon thereafter, CORE hired a small staff to work with people throughout the south.
4. In 1947, after the US Supreme Court’s finding (in Morgan v. Commonwealth) that segregation in interstate travel was unconstitutional, Houser helped organize the Journey of Reconciliation. This was a plan to send eight white and eight black men on a journey through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky to test the ruling. The protest brought a great deal of press attention to CORE and to the issue of segregation in interstate travel.
5. The group first drew national attention in 1960 with its active support of the sit-in movement at lunch counters that refused to serve blacks.