James Farmer

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"Civil rights leader, author, labor organizer, and teacher, James Leonard Farmer, Jr. was born on January 12, 1920, in Marshall, Texas. He earned degrees from Wiley College (1938) and the Howard University School of Divinity (1940). Farmer went on to found the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) which played a key role in the Civil Rights movement, particularly in launching the Freedom Rides in the summer of 1961. These bus rides tested the federal interstate transportation accomodations at bus terminals. Combined with other CORE non-violent acts, the Freedom Rides led in part to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Bill of 1964, and to the Civil Rights Voting Act the following year. Farmer is widely recognized as one of the Civil Rights movement's "Big Four," along with Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, and Whitney Young of the National Urban League.

"In 1998 President Bill Clinton awarded Farmer the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Farmer died on July 9, 1999...

"The papers also contain extensive documentation of three organizations Farmer established in the 1960s and 1970s: the Center for Community Action Education, the Council on Minority Planning and Strategy (COMPAS), and the Public Policy Training Institute. In addition, the papers contain material relating to Farmer's unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1968; his tenure as assistant secretary in the U. S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (1969-1970)" [1]

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  1. A Guide to the James Leonard, Jr., and Lula Peterson Farmer Papers, accessed February 25, 2010.