Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), civil-rights organization founded (1942) in Chicago by James Farmer. Dedicated to the use of nonviolent direct action, CORE initially sought to promote better race relations and end racial discrimination in the United States. It first focused on activities directed toward the desegregation of public accommodations in Chicago, later expanding its program of nonviolent sit-ins to the South. CORE gained national recognition by sponsoring (1961) the Freedom Rides, a series of confrontational bus rides throughout the South by interracial groups of CORE members and supporters that ultimately succeeding in ending segregation on interstate bus routes. CORE was one of the sponsors of the 1963 civil-rights march on Washington. After 1966, when Farmer resigned, the organization concentrated more on black voter registration in the South and on community problems. Later leaders have focused on African-American political and economic empowerment and have tended to agree with civil-rights critics such as Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W.Bush. CORE leader Roy Innis supported the nominations of Robert Bork (1987) and Clarence Thomas (1991) to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1996–98, Innis led teams that monitored elections in Nigeria. By 1999, CORE had about 100,000 members in 5 regional groups, 39 state groups, and 116 local groups.
See study by A. Meier and E. Rudwick (1973).