Guide for Interviewing Relatives about the Civil Rights Movement – FamilySearch January 15, 2021

I saw this on FamilySearch today – Guide for Interviewing Relatives about the Civil Rights Movement: Longer article, but here’s a brief synopsis. I included section headings below.

January 15, 2021 by Lauren Bryce 

The Civil Rights Movement began in 1954. It is considered to have ended when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was ratified in 1968, outlawing institutionalized racial discrimination, disenfranchisement, and racial segregation in the United States.

As we continue to strive for racial equality throughout the world, it can be helpful to reflect on the progress that’s been made as we look to meet our present-day challenges. Here is a guide of Civil Rights Movement discussion tips and questions for interviewing others or for personal reflection.

Tips to consider

Don’t assume all stories will be positive or easy to listen to. Be prepared for the emotions that can arise when discussing a very difficult but productive time in history.

Don’t describe racism as an issue of the “past.” Strides for racial equality continue today while discrimination and hate are not yet defeated. Also in 2020, NAACP leaders and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together called for increased unity to end systemic racism and individual prejudice: 


Keep an open mind while listening. You never know what to expect when asking someone about his or her personal experiences. Try to keep an open mind while listening, and look for key takeaways. If there is disagreement, realize that while you can’t control others, you can control what you learn and how you respond.

Be willing to do more research. Often people don’t remember all of the facts correctly or have been misinformed themselves. Keep a list to fact-check after discussions and interviews. Offer to share your findings.

Remember that no one group knows everything about the civil rights movement. The Civil Rights Movement has affected every community in the United States and beyond in some way.

Don’t ignore concerns about leaders from that time period. No leaders or individuals from the Civil Rights Movement were perfect, but it’s okay to focus on their imperfect yet honorable contributions. Realize that they were humans just like us. Recognize that public figures were held to high standards and scrutinized more than the average community member.

Civil Rights Questions to Ask Your Relatives:

The new ancestor discovery page has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a fun family activity or detailed information about an ancestor’s life.


Save your Civil Rights Movement interviews with FamilySearch


Steps (website)


Steps (mobile app)


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
This entry was posted in Bloggers, Genealogy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Guide for Interviewing Relatives about the Civil Rights Movement – FamilySearch January 15, 2021

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow this is good to think of how to talk about Civil Rights history and those of that era

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.