Unsung Foot Soldiers   marchers
The Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies
foot soldiers

Outreach: Community Documentation Projects

Unsung Foot Soldiers

While the life and work of prominent civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks is well documented in an impressive array of literature and archival materials, the life and work of many persons who played significant, powerful, and historic roles in the movement have been overlooked and are largely unknown. For example, after county officials refused to allow him to vote in the Democratic primary election, Primus King, an itinerant preacher from Columbus, Georgia, filed a federal lawsuit in 1945 that opened primary elections and ultimately won voting rights for blacks in Georgia. In 1962, reminiscent of the courageous Rosa Parks, four African American ministers tired of the segregated buses in Macon, Georgia decided to board a bus in Macon and take seats near the front of the bus. Following their arrest for refusing to move to the back of the bus, civil rights attorneys filed a federal lawsuit that led to a court mandate to desegregate public transportation in Macon.

All of us who are the beneficiaries of these actions must be cognizant that we stand not only on the shoulders of well-known civil rights leaders and nationally celebrated events, but also on the shoulders of many unsung foot soldiers and their brave actions. The Unsung Foot Soldiers project is a community documentation project designed to recover lost or forgotten individuals in civil rights history whose courageous actions, while heretofore undocumented, nevertheless constituted significant contributions to the work of social transformation and the pursuit of social justice.

For more information on the FSP community documentation projects, contact
Maurice C. Daniels at fsp@uga.edu