We've also been in search of other ways to illuminate the nuances of that period, as if it were happening now. If you follow @TodayIn1963, you'll see the era unfold in real time in your Twitter timeline, punctuated by large events and small moments.
Now, NPR Music is bringing you a 24-hour stream of music inspired by the civil rights era.
There are few better ways to immerse yourself in that era than through its sounds. If you flipped on your radio in the '60s, you might have heard Nina Simone's rambunctious — yet incredibly pointed — "Mississippi Goddam" seeping through the stereo.
There's James Brown's funk anthem "Say It Loud."
Cue Mavis Staples' simple, churning ode, "I'm On My Way."
In addition to songs from the '60s, you'll hear contemporary songs influenced by the era. Also interspersed throughout are highlights of stories from Michele Norris' Race Card Project, touching on the themes of the movement.