Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

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CORE was founded in 1942 and is still an active civil rights group today. The group developed from a more passive group, The Fellowship of Reconciliation. The development of the new group was based on the principle of nonviolent protest against segregation. After being founded, word of CORE's success in nonviolent protest spread throughout the nation, and CORE headquarters began popping up across the U.S.

Key Players

  • James Farmer - Founder
  • George Houser- Founder
  • James Robinson - Founder
  • Benice Fisher - Founder
  • Krishnalal Shridharani - Author of "War Without Violence;" the book that showcased Ghandi's methods of organizing large groups of people for nonviolent campaigns. This book provided the basic principles and strategies for CORE.

CORE's goal, ultimately, is equality for everyone, regardless of race, creed, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnic background. The way they found best to ensure everyone was equal was to try to make sure everyone had a say in their government. With this in mind, one of CORE's biggest goals then became to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to voice his or her concerns in a nonviolent manner so that government decisions could be influenced. Encouraging oppressed citizens to speak out and voice their concerns allowed change to happen faster. Eventually, enough voices were heard that problems, such as segregation and discrimination, began to be noticed and were slowly fixed.

This video provides a slideshow of CORE members at various protests.

Freedom Rides
"Freedom Rides" was a tactic developed by CORE after the supreme courts ruling that segregation on public transportation was unconstitutional. The idea was to test the ruling to ensure that anyone could sit wherever they wanted to on a bus, no matter what their race was by crossing the south on a desegregated bus. The first ride took place in 1961. During the first week there was only minor resistance, which can be expected anytime change occurs.However, after the first week, hostility grew, and people opposed to the desegregation of transportation began to get hostile. As the bus moved through Alabama, mobs would form around the bus and many people on board were severely beaten. Things got even worse when the bus moved through Birmingham, as the bus was actually set on fire while rolling through town. After such a violent incident, many freedom riders fled. However, CORE leaders knew that if they were to quit it would not send a strong message out to the nation, so they sent in a group of volunteers to re-enforce the pair that had stayed on the bus. The journey continued on to Montgomery, where the riders were met by a mob of over 1000 people, and eventually to MIssissippi, where more mobs formed and more beatings took place. As the story traveled around the U.S., citizens were angered by the brutality and lack of police intervention. This drew much attention to the issue, which eventually lead to government action. The freedom ride was also important as it influenced many others across the country to start their own freedom ride and drew even more attention to the serious issue.

CORE was able to succeed for the most part in achieving its goal of equality. Obviously, even today, everyone is not treated equally; however, the treatment of minorities has come a long way since the beginning of the civil rights movement. Without CORE, it is possible that issues of segregation may not have been realized by the public as quickly and the movement may have taken a lot longer. Because CORE has been so successful and made so much progress, they have been able to change their goal from ending discrimination to more modern issues such as equal access to information, technology, and health care.