American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1940-1996
American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996
From the Archives of the Central Intelligence Agency

Quick Facts

  • The only fully searchable digital archive covering foreign perspectives of American racial issues in the mid-20th century
  • A wealth of unique primary source documents on racial justice from around the world
  • New insight into many of the most important historical events and movements of the last hundred years


As America transitioned from the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights movement and beyond, the rest of the world paid close attention. The only comprehensive collection covering these foreign reactions to America’s racial struggles in the mid-20th century is American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996. In addition to providing unique viewpoints on America’s fight for racial justice, this fully searchable online collection also offers rare insight into race relations in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

A wealth of unique research material
The documents in American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996, are derived from the archives of the Central Intelligence Agency. Between the early 1940s and 1996, a government organization that became part of the CIA monitored, recorded and translated into English relevant news from newspapers, magazines, government statements and radio and television broadcasts from every corner of the globe. These primary source documents are unavailable elsewhere, and provide thousands of astute and penetrating commentaries on African-American history, the Civil Rights movement, Hispanic-American history, Asian-American history and the evolution of racial justice in America.

Firsthand perspectives from Jim Crow to Civil Rights and beyond
For America’s allies, the nation’s racial tensions were a cause of concern. For adversaries, they were an indication of American weakness. As the only collection that captures these diverse responses, American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996, sheds new light on crucial research topics like segregation, race riots, arts and literature, Brown v. Board of Education and other important court cases, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and more. Additionally, this essential archive includes firsthand reporting on the rise of indigenous rights in countries around the world.

Vast applications across multiple disciplines
Race relations span a breadth of academic disciplines, from arts and literature to history, political science and sociology. Researchers using this collection will find unique comparative studies and chronological reviews in American history, along with global views about how the nation’s racial struggles impacted foreign policy, culture, religion and more. Researchers in the humanities can analyze the evolution of Asian-, Hispanic- and African-American influence on popular culture, and researchers in the international relations can trace the role of racial issues in immigration patterns. The research possibilities are endless. In addition, the interface enables students and scholars to easily browse the collection by a broad range of topics, each providing highly relevant results for users at all levels.

20th-Century Global Perspectives
In addition to American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996, closely related collections—also from the Archives of the Central Intelligence Agency—include Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996; The Cold War: Global Perspectives on East-West Tensions, 1945-1991; Immigrations, Migrations and Refugees: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996; and Middle East and North Africa: Global Perspectives, 1958-1994.



“American domestic affairs provided plenty of fodder for foreign journalists, particularly in the area of race relations, and the FBIS monitoring produced a rich collection of reports from the outside on America’s mid-to-late twentieth-century confrontations with its troubled racial past and present. Readex has collected these reports in a database entitled American Race Relations: Global Perspectives 1941-1996….This resource may also aid students and researchers in making global connections to the American race story….Although many of the articles were produced as anti-American propaganda pieces by communist governments, their perspectives might be seen as a corrective to the one-sided reporting by many of the mainstream news outlets in the USA at the time. Further, in an era where one can customize their news intake to reflect one’s personal view of the world, these articles prove the importance of reading global perspectives to be truly informed….Seeking global perspectives on the past and the present is one way to step out of the echo chamber. Librarians, teaching faculty and general researchers will find this database a useful discussion tool and research resource.”
— Bart Everts, Librarian of Practice, Rutgers University, in Reference Reviews (2017)


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