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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Congress of Racial Equality

by Raymond Gavins, 2006

Freedom Rides, 1961: Traveling to promote civil rights. Image courtesy of CORE. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), founded in Chicago in 1942, crusaded for equality through nonviolence and integration. It came to North Carolina on a 1947 southern bus during a "Journey of Reconciliation," when an interracial group that included North Carolinians faced arrest for not riding in segregated seats. By 1963 CORE had nine chapters in the state, hundreds of members (many of them student activists), and leaders such as black attorney Floyd B. McKissick (1922-91), who became chairman and later national director of CORE. Like its 1961 Freedom Ride, CORE's voter education projects and sit-in campaigns helped energize the struggle for civil rights in North Carolina. In 1966 the organization embraced Black Power, emphasizing self-determination over nonviolent direct action.


Jeffrey J. Crow, Paul D. Escott, and Flora J. Hatley, A History of African Americans in North Carolina (2002).

Floyd B. McKissick, Three-Fifths of a Man (1969).

August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, CORE: A Study in the Civil Rights Movement, 1942-1968 (1975).

Capus M. Waynick, John C. Brooks, and Elsie W. Pitts, eds., North Carolina and the Negro (1964).

Additional Resources:

Congress of Racial Equality:

Image Credit:

Freedom Rides, 1961: Traveling to promote civil rights. Image courtesy of CORE. Available from (accessed November 11, 2012).