May 21, 2022

Reference: Social Activism in the United States (New Annotated Webliography)


Social Activism in the United States


Jennifer Kaari
Mount Sinai West and St. Luke’s


C&RL News (September 2017; 78.8)

From the Introduction

The United States is currently going through a time of increasing political and social activism, from the Black Lives Matter movement to health care activism. This has brought on a renewed interest in the history of social activism to both learn lessons from the successful movements of the past, as well as gain a deeper understanding of the forces that have shaped our current environment. Studying the history of activism and social movements is essential to understanding how once radical ideas like women’s suffrage and civil rights have been able to move increasingly into the mainstream.1

Teaching and researching the history of social movements can be particularly complex as these movements emerge out of tumultuous eras and often involve controversial subject matter. When teaching these subjects, using primary source materials can help educators incorporate both mainstream and marginal views into a more complete picture of the era as it was lived, and thereby help break free of some of the clichés that can come to dominate discussions of these eras.2

This article outlines some of the high-quality digital collections and primary source materials available online on the history of activism in the United States. This list is not exhaustive, but focuses on strong multimedia collections that can have applications as both resources for original research and use as educational materials for classroom instruction and discussion.

Resources are organized into the following sections:

  • General History of Activism
  • Civil Rights
  • Labor Movements
  • LGBT Activism
  • Women’s Movements

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.