Freedom When?
The Papers of James Farmer, Civil Rights Leader

James Leonard Farmer, Jr., a native of Marshall, Texas was the founder of CORE — the Congress of Racial Equality — which was responsible for the Freedom Rides in the summer of 1961. Those bus rides testing the federal interstate transportation accommodations at bus terminals as well as other CORE-initiated non-violent activities led in part to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Bill of 1964, and to the equally sweeping Civil Rights Voting Act the following year. Farmer was one of the Civil Rights Big Four of the era. The others were Martin Luther King., Jr., Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and Whitney Young of the National Urban League.

In 1998, Farmer received the Presidential Medal of
Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — from U.S. President Bill Clinton. The James and and Lulu Farmer Papers , documenting their involvement in the civil right movement, are housed at the
Center for American History.

The Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin