Talk:List of civil rights leaders

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Labor Rights[edit]

I don't know if this is a call for a page of labor rights activists, or pointing out that many labor rights activists, labor rights beings synonymous with civil rights to this person, are missing from this list. Dorothy Day, August Spies and the rest of the Haymarket Martyrs, Joe Hill, Ammon Hennessey, musicians like Joan Baez, Utah Phillips, Phil Ochs... this should be one of the longest pages in Wikipedia and is plain weak. This list doesn't even include Gandhi!!! I would add it but all my additions get deleted, so I'm begging someone to stand up and do so. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Soco 79 (talkcontribs) 12:19, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

It's a page for civil rights leaders, not general activism or labor rights. Maybe you can start a list of labor activists if one doesn't exist, and see List of peace activists for Day, Ochs, and Baez. This list does and has included Gandhi, but thank you for being interested in his inclusion, and for recognizing the contributions of the others. Randy Kryn 20:20, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

Unnamed section[edit]

Lincoln may have been a good man but he was not a civil rights leader --LegCircus 04:08, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)

Yes he was, and Jack and Bobby Kennedy and FDR and Eleanor should be added. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Potential additions[edit]

Here are some potential additions to the list. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:03, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Angela Davis
Marcus Garvey — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:06, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
Abraham Lincoln President of the United States Already listed
Amos T. Akerman U.S. Attorney General
Ulysses S. Grant President of the United States
Charles Sumner U.S. Senator
George H. Williams U.S. Attorney General
Benjamin Butler U.S. House of Representatives
George S. Boutwell U. S. Secretary of Treasury
Benjamin Harrison President of the United States
Will D. Campbell Preacher, Activist Michaelthomascash (talk) 15:27, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

In reference to Abraham Lincoln, he freed slaves in Washington D.C., he had emancipated over a million slaves in the South by his Emancipation Proclamation. He was behind the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished involuntary servitude. I know that Lincoln was a white supremacist, however, his actions as President were anti-racist. The Emancipation Proclamation freed over a million slaves and empowered them to fight and support the Union offensive. Lincoln was assassinated because he asked for limited suffrage to freed blacks who fought in the Union Army. Cmguy777 (talk) 18:03, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

I do not agree with the addition of Abraham Lincoln (and have reverted). While the Emancipation Proclamation played an important role in setting the stage for later events in the civil rights arena, Lincoln's actions as president (most notably issuance of the Proclamation) were undertaken with the primary objective of keeping the United States united, not with emancipating anyone. (Consider: the Proclamation did not apply to slave states that hadn't seceded.) He personally opposed slavery, but that doesn't make him a civil rights leader, and the reasons for his assassination were likely rather more complex than stated above. If anyone knows of a reliable source that actually calls him a civil rights leader, I'd be happy to reconsider. But I think we need to be very careful not to water the list down so much that the term becomes essentially meaningless. Rivertorch (talk) 16:03, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
His ordeal and determination to pass the U.S. amendment which outlawed slavery - and can you imagine a better civil rights goal than that - has been very well portrayed lately in the 2012 movie "Lincoln". The Emancipation Proclamation was partially or mainly an attempt to keep the nation together, but as the film points out, the amendment to outlaw slavery was much more important and seems to have been something Lincoln gave his heart and time too. If a civil rights leader is someone who chooses a cause which greatly expands the rights of people, works for that cause, and attracts others to work for the same cause, then Lincoln fits like a glove. A rather large glove at that. Randy Kryn 19:20 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. I guess I should have clarifed from the get-go that this is one of those awkward situations where my personal opinion differs from my opnion as a Wikipedia editor, and for some reason I was playing devil's advocate instead of just saying what I really think. Personally, I agree with you. I admire Lincoln a lot—almost revere him, I guess—despite his flaws, and I don't really object to his being characterized as a civil rights leader . . . out there in the real world. In Wikipedia world, however, I think we really must have reliable sourcing that strongly backs up such a characterization. Otherwise, we're on a slippery slope where personal opinion (i.e., original research) interferes with the integrity of verifiable content, and at the bottom of that slope lies chaos. Might it be possible to find reliable sourcing to support the inclusion of Lincoln on this list? I think it probably would, and as long as we're careful not to fall into the synthesis trap I wouldn't be too picky about it, either. But Lincoln was added with the summary "per the talk page", and what I see above on the talk page appears to be 100% original research. (The seven other suggested entries also need sourcing before they're included.) Rivertorch (talk) 05:20, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

C. Evers, W. Mandela, "nonviolently"[edit]

I have undone three recent edits that were unexplained. Charles Evers was removed, although his article indicates he qualifies for the list. Winnie Mandela was added, although her article really does not. The word "nonviolently" was added to the lede, although nonviolence doesn't necessarily seem like a requisite quality for inclusion here (and, in the context of Winnie Mandela, makes no sense whatsoever). It may be that all three of these edits make perfect sense and I'm just not seeing it, but let's shoot for consensus here on the talk page. Rivertorch (talk) 23:43, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. My thought process was that although Charles Evers was very active in the civil rights movement in America, as were many on the list, he may not have been a major leader who made a national difference. Using the logic of including everyone who participated in a change of the magnitude of that movement, and taking into account the U.S.-centric tag, the page could include a hundred people from Gandhi's work in both South Africa and in India, two hundred from the suffrage movements across the world, and dozens from America's independence years. Yet many of the names on the list were active in one state in the U.S., or worked in SCLC's office, for example. It may be an issue of the handling of the page without breaking it up into ten pages, where the impact of true "leadership" would be lost. On Winnie Mandela, she may or may not belong. Upon reading her you are probably right, although it may hinge on the word "nonviolently" being left in the lede. The addition of "nonviolently" made sense to me, since if we open the page to everyone who had a major role in, say, World War Two - which gave back civil rights to nations and people's in Europe - or for those who gained rights by using or advocating methods of extreme force, thus costing others their lives (arguably the ultimate civil right), the page could take on the look of a "Who's Who in War and Mayhem" along with its present role. Thanks again, and nice to meet you. Randy Kryn 12:15 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Nice to meet you, too (for the second time—see earlier thread above). Your thoughtful comments are much appreciated. As I see it, just as with Lincoln et al, it really should come down to verifiability: what do reliable sources say? If multiple RSes—or maybe one thoroughly neutral, highly reliable RS—call Winnie Mandela a civil rights leader, then it probably would be appropriate to include her, regardless of anyone else's views, least of all our own. If the sources don't call her that, then we're straying into OR territory. The same goes for Charles Evers. (I am actutely aware of my own point of view on Winnie Mandela, and I'm trying to be very careful not to let it influence my edits.)

I think that reliance on sources also will do the trick to keep the list from growing to unwieldy size or being watered down to make "leadership" meaningless. Obviously, we need to exercise editorial discretion: we needn't require that a source use the exact phrase "civil rights leader", just wording that unambiguously indicates that status.

Regarding nonviolence, there are several people currently on the list whose advocacy of civil rights has not been of the strictly nonviolent sort. We wouldn't include war heroes because we don't have sources that equate the liberation of occupied nations with civil rights leadership. Rivertorch (talk) 18:20, 10 December 2013 (UTC)


The description of several individuals on this list as an "inspiration" is inappropriate in an enyclopedia, and (whether it be the case or not) is counter to neutrality as per Wikipedia POV policy. This is not the place for personal opinion – I propose to delete. Other designations of those listed here are too long and detailed, and I will also shorten these. Agendum (talk) 13:00, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Are gay rights, such as the right to marry, a civil right?[edit]

A red-link user who signed up for the purpose of editing this page has removed all of the gay rights listings, and I've reverted. He or she is saying that for this page gay rights should not be known as a civil right. For some it pertains to the question: is the right to marry a civil right? The courts in the U.S. seem to be saying "Sure" at a finishing lap's pace, and the odds seem to be that gay marriage throughout the U.S. is not too far off. When that occurs a huge part of the gay rights movement will be mostly in the history category. So there's little reason I can think of not to list some in the gay movement as "civil rights leaders". Harry Hay and Harvey Milk for sure. Well, I'm not going to make a big fuss about it, maybe will revert once more, and then will have had my say for awhile. I'm interested if editors have solid reasons not to include the gay civil rights leaders on this list. Randy Kryn 21:19 6 June 2014 (UTC)

  • I think this editor's confusion arises from the fact that this is an American POV article. The term 'civil rights', in America, refers largely to the struggle of black Americans, but not entirely. It can also apply to women, and LGBT persons. However, the actual term refers to a MUCH broader subject, and (even in light of the poor definition given in this article's intro), this list should contain THOUSANDS more people who were leaders of "civil rights" movements in various countries throughout history. (This is, imo, one of the main problems with "list" articles: since they don't have a "real" basis in secondary sources -- there's no academic discipline that studies who was or wasn't a "civil rights leader" -- the list itself almost automatically suffers from POV issues.) Eaglizard (talk) 11:49, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Fixed Mamie Till Link[edit]

The link originally went to the Emmett till article, so I fixed it. Also added her date of birth and death, modified another DOB. (talk) 01:57, 9 September 2015 (UTC)