Department Chair

Andrew D. Nicholls

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

History, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Andrew D. Nicholls

Department Home page

Andrew D. Nicholls

First Reader

Andrew D. Nicholls

Second Reader

Steve Peraza


The Civil Rights Movement, which occurred primarily in the 1950s and 1960s, aimed to acquire justice, equality, and an end to racism and discrimination against Black Americans. In an attempt to do so, Black activists staged protests, walkouts, and boycotts and turned to institutions of education and politics to usher in change. However, the historiography on the Civil Rights Movement focuses on the more prominent events and individuals of the time, for example, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The missing components of the historiography include the contributions made by Northern local leaders to the Civil Rights Movement. In particular, Leeland N. Jones Jr. and Claude Clapp are two case studies from Buffalo, New York, who adapted methodologies utilized by civil rights activists to fight for equality in a Northern location. Gathering information from primary and secondary sources, this author intends to highlight the efforts of two Black Buffalonians that fought for civil rights reform in housing policies, politics, and education. This thesis aims to broaden the understanding and include local leaders in the growing historiography of the Civil Rights Movement. The struggle for justice and equality was not contained to the Southern United States but spread across the nation and globe. Leeland Jones and Claude Clapp are just two examples of local leaders advocating to end racism and discrimination in their communities.