African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–68) in popular culture
The Civil Rights Movement contributed strong cultural threads to American theater, song, film, television, and folk art. These depictions in the arts keep alive the ideals and deeds of the people who organized, supported, and participated in this nonviolent movement.
- Mississippi Burning (1988), about the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.
- Hairspray (1988, 2007 remake), features a major subplot about demonstrations against racial segregation in Baltimore, Maryland.
- The Long Walk Home (1990), portrays a woman who is boycotting city buses during the 1955-1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- Malcolm X (1992), a biopic focused on the life and assassination of Malcolm X.
- Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), an account of the murder of Mississippi activist Medgar Evers and the subsequent investigation.
- Selma, Lord, Selma (1999), follows the life of a young girl during the events leading up to the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march and its "Bloody Sunday".
- Our Friend, Martin (1999 animated)
- Boycott (2001), depicts some of the events of the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- The Rosa Parks Story (2002), the life of the key figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- The Butler (2013), depicts a Civil Rights Movement training session conducted during the Nashville Student Movement by James Lawson and other Civil Rights Movement events.
- Selma (2014), focusing on the events leading up to, during, and after the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, including the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
- All the Way (2016), focusing on Lyndon B. Johnson's successful attempt to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963), first-hand as-it-happened account of the University of Alabama "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" integration crisis of June 1963.
- Nine from Little Rock (1964), about the Little Rock Nine who enrolled in an all-white Arkansas high school in 1957.
- The March (1964), about the 1963 March on Washington, was made for the United States Information Agency.
- Louisiana Diary (1964) follows the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) from July to August 1963, as they undertake an African American voter registration drive in Plaquemine, Louisiana.
- Cicero March (1966), details a civil rights march held by the Congress of Racial Equality on September 4, 1966 in Cicero, Illinois, soon after the 1966 Chicago open housing movement ended.
- King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis (1970)
- Malcolm X (1972), based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
- Freedom on My Mind (1994), documents efforts to register African-American voters in Mississippi, Freedom Summer, and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
- A Time for Justice (1994), a short history of the Civil Rights Movement narrated by Julian Bond.
- 4 Little Girls (1997), focusing on the 1963 events surrounding the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church just after the Birmingham Movement.
- Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks (2002), created with archival footage
- February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four (2003), documents the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins and the four college students involved.
- The Murder of Emmett Till (2003) about the murder and the impact of Emmett Till's open-casket funeral.
- Home of the Brave (2004), documents the life and murder of Viola Liuzzo.
- Mighty Times: The Children's March (2004) about the 1963 Birmingham campaign and its marches by schoolchildren.
- Dare Not Walk Alone (2006) focuses on the 1964 St. Augustine movement.
- Mississippi Cold Case (2007), chronicles the Ku Klux Klan murders of two young black men in Mississippi in 1964 during Freedom Summer, and the 21st-century quest for justice by the brother of one of those murdered.
- The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306 (2008), details the events surrounding Dr. King's assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Neshoba (2008), chronicles the events and attitudes in Neshoba County, Mississippi, 40 years after the 1964 Mississippi civil rights workers murders.
- Soundtrack for a Revolution (2009), focuses on some of the songs sung during the Civil Rights Movement.
- The Barber of Birmingham (2011), about James Armstrong, a voting rights activist and an original flag bearer for the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches.
- Alpha Man: The Brotherhood of MLK (2011), about Dr. King's fraternity.
- Julian Bond: Reflections from the Frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement (2012), on the life and thoughts of activist Julian Bond.
- The March (2013), documents the 1963 March on Washington and the "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. King.
- Freedom Summer (2014), documents the events of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer movement.
- Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan (1975) two-part television movie dramatizing the events following the 1964 disappearance and murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.
- King (1978 miniseries) about Southern Christian Leadership Conference chairman and movement spokesman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Crisis at Central High (1981), made-for-television movie about the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.
- For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (1983), PBS biopic about assassinated Mississippi civil rights activist Medgar Evers, his work, and his family.
- Eyes on the Prize (1987-1990), a 14-hour documentary series chronicling the Civil Rights Movement.
- Murder in Mississippi (1990) movie following the last weeks of three civil rights workers, Michael "Mickey" Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, and the events leading up to their disappearance and subsequent murder during the Mississippi Freedom Summer campaign.
- Separate But Equal (1991), depicts the landmark Supreme Court desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education, based on the phrase "Separate but equal".
- The Ernest Green Story (1993), film chronicling the true story of Ernest Green (Morris Chestnut) and eight other high-school students (dubbed the "Little Rock Nine") and the 1957 integration of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
- George Wallace (1997), a film about George Wallace, the Alabama governor, and his involvement in many of the events of the era including the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door".
- Ruby Bridges (1998), the true story of six-year-old Ruby Bridges who, in 1960, became the first black student to integrate an elementary school in the South.
- Any Day Now (1998-2002), series with a major subplot involving the 1963 Birmingham Movement.
- Freedom Song (2000), a film based on true stories of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, involving voting rights, Freedom Summer, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
- Sins of the Father (2002) chronicles the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in which four young African American girls were killed while attending Sunday school.
- Freedom Riders (2011), a PBS film marking the 50th anniversary of the first Freedom Ride in May, 1961.
- "We Shall Overcome", gospel-based song that became an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement.
- "We Shall Not Be Moved", spiritual-based song often sung during the Civil Rights Movement.
- "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize", sung during the Movement actions, based on the traditional folk song "Gospel Plow".
- "This Little Light of Mine", originally a hymn, the lyrics were modified as it became a Movement anthem.
- "Fables of Faubus" (1957), Charles Mingus's jazz composition written and performed in response to the Little Rock Nine incident
- "Oxford Town" (1962), written and sung by Bob Dylan, pertains to James Meredith's enrollment at the University of Mississippi.
- "Alabama" (1963), John Coltrane's jazz composition response to a 1963 church bombing that killed four young girls.
- "Mississippi Goddamn" (1964), Nina Simone's response to the murder of Medgar Evers.
- "Only a Pawn in Their Game" (1964), Bob Dylan's response to the murder of Medgar Evers.
- "Keep on Pushing" (1964), rhythm and blues hit single by The Impressions.
- "Eve of Destruction" (1965) references the Selma to Montgomery marches.
- "Abraham, Martin and John" (1968), a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, Dr. King, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy written by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion.
- "If I Can Dream" (1968), recorded by Elvis Presley in honor of Dr. King soon after King's death.
- Scenes from the Life of a Martyr (1981), a 16-part oratorio composed by Undine Smith Moore in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Joseph Schwantner: New Morning for the World; Nicolas Flagello: The Passion of Martin Luther King (1995), an album of classical music by the Oregon Symphony in honor of Dr. King.
- "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)" (2006), Patty Griffin's song about the emotions surrounding Dr. King's 1968 I've Been to the Mountaintop speech.
- "Glory" (2014), from the film Selma, won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- The Meeting (1987), a play about an imaginary 1965 meeting between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X in a hotel in Harlem.
- James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire (1999), set in Baldwin's apartment on the morning of May 24, 1963, immediately before Baldwin and other Black leaders are scheduled to meet with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy concerning events in the Civil Rights Movement.
- Hairspray (2002), a musical based on the 1988 film described above.
- The State of Mississippi and the Face of Emmett Till (2003) is a play centered on the murder and subsequent open-casket funeral of Emmett Till.
- The Mountaintop (2009), a play set in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel the night before Dr. King's assassination.
- I Dream (2010), a musical about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- All the Way (2012), a play about President Lyndon Johnson and his work to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- The Problem We All Live With (1964), painting by Norman Rockwell depicting Ruby Bridges, the six-year-old African-American girl who, in 1960, was the first to desegregate an elementary school in the South, as she walks into the all-white public school in New Orleans.
- Civil Rights Memorial (1989), a memorial fountain in Montgomery, Alabama designed by Maya Lin dedicated to 41 people who died in the Civil Rights Movement.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (2011), showcases the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Lei Yixin and several surrounding art pieces and quotations on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Capitol Rotunda sculpture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a bust by John Wilson dedicated in 1986.
- Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story (1957), graphic portrayal of the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- March (2013), the life and events of the Selma to Montgomery march as remembered by activist John Lewis.
- Photographers of the African-American Civil Rights Movement
- African-American Civil Right Movement (1954-1968) museums
- Freedom Songs
- Songs about Martin Luther King, Jr.