Bus departing for March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs, Hartford

Bus departing for March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs, Hartford, August 28, 1963
– Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library and Connecticut History Online

Throughout state history everyday people have banded together on local and national issues to defy the status quo and call for change. The causes have been diverse, from anti-slavery, temperance, and universal suffrage to the Good Roads movement championed by Hartford bicycle innovator Albert Pope in the late 1800s. Often the struggle is long, as witnessed by indigenous groups’ quest for recognition and land rights. And sometimes it is violent, as seen in the Hartford and New Haven riots of the Civil Rights era. Noted Connecticut reformers include abolitionist Roger Sherman Baldwin, who defended the Amistad captives, and Estelle Griswold, who, in the 1960s, challenged the state’s ban on birth control.

More on Social Movements from the CT Digital Archive

Browse more interactive content on the CT Digital Archive website.

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The Language of the Unheard: Racial Unrest in 20th-Century Hartford

Race riots in Hartford during the 1960s came about thanks to a century of frustration and political inaction surrounding disparate standards of living among different races and ethnicities, …[more]

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“Connecticut Freedom Trail,” 2016. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “Newspapers of Connecticut: Charter Oak (ca. 1838-1843) - Digital Newspaper Archive,” n.d. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “Research Guide to the ‘Amistad Affair,’” 2016. Link.
Yale University - Yale, Slavery & Abolition. “The Story of Yale Abolitionists,” 2016. Link.


YouTube: Black Panther Demonstration in New Haven. New Haven, CT, 1970. Link.


Department of Economic & Community Development. “Prudence Crandall Museum,” 2016. Link.


Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center,  University of Connecticut Libraries. “Finding Aid to the Stephen Thornton Papers,” 2017. Link.
Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project. “Guides to Digitized Newspaper Content - African Americans and Civil Rights in Progressive Era Connecticut,” 2016. Link.


Moret, Marta. A Brief History of the Connecticut Labor Movement. Storrs, CT: Labor Education Center, University of Connecticut, 1982.
Thornton, Steve. A Shoeleather History of the Wobblies: Stories of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Connecticut. Boston, MA: Red Sun Press, 2013.
Connecticut. Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. Great Women in Connecticut History. Hartford, CT: The Commission, 1986.
Johnson, John W. Griswold V. Connecticut: Birth Control and the Constitutional Right of Privacy. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2005.
Burr, Nelson R. The Early Labor Movement in Connecticut, 1790-1860. West Hartford, CT, 1972.
Edwards, Jonathan. The Injustice and Impolicy of the Slave Trade and of the Slavery of the Africans. Boston: Wells and Lilly, 1822. Link.
Housley, Kathleen L. The Letter Kills but the Spirit Gives Life: The Smiths-Abolitionists, Suffragists, Bible Translators. Glastonbury, CT: Historical Society of Glastonbury, 1993.
Pope, Albert. The Movement for Better Roads. Boston, MA: Pope Manufacturing Company, 1892. Link.
Mitford, Jessica. The Trial of Dr. Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Michael Ferber, Mitchell Goodman, and Marcus Raskin. New York, NY: Knopf, 1969.
Strother, Horatio T. The Underground Railroad in Connecticut. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1962. Link.
Nichols, Carole. Votes and More for Women: Suffrage and After in Connecticut. New York: Institute for Research in History: Haworth Press, 1983.
Goldstein, Warren. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.