By O'Halloran, Thomas J., photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) may be most remembered for their organization of the Freedom Rides, a series of interracial protests against segregated bus seating in the late 1960s. Founded in 1942 by James Farmer, Bayard Rustin, Homer Jack, and George Houser in Chicago, IL, CORE was created to improve race relations and end discrematory policies through direct action and nonviolence. Following the principals of Mahatma Gandhi, CORE organized sit-ins, voter registration drives and the aforementioned freedom rides throughout the South. With their parent organization the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), CORE supported and advised the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in his Montgomery Bus Boycott. Throughout all of these nonviolent actions CORE members and volunteers faced teargas, were assaulted and jailed and some even killed.
The leadership of CORE founder James Farmer helped with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1968, Roy Innis became the National Director of CORE and the organization became more centralized. CORE's headquarters are in New York City and currently focuses on worker training and equal employment opportunities, crime victim assistance, and community-oriented crisis intervention.
For more information on the Congress of Racial Equality check out these titles at your local Milwaukee Public Library.