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DePaul University Special Collections and Archives

Civil Rights Activism

Philip Berrigan, S.S.J., standing with three children at a park

Philip Berrigan, S.S.J., standing with three school children at a park.

While serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Philp “Phil” Berrigan witnessed discrimination against Black soldiers. After the war, he was inspired by the Josephite mission to serve African Americans and joined the priesthood.

The Josephites sent Phil to New Orleans, where he taught, became involved in civil rights activism, and learned about peacemaking. He participated in protests and wrote about racism in the South, even among the Josephites.

List of participants in Selma to Montgomery voter registration efforts.

List of participants in Selma to Montgomery voter registration efforts from Syracuse, New York area, including Jerome C. Berrigan.

"Men do not belong in cages"

Jerome C. Berrigan, Harold Walker, and Daniel Berrigan in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Walker was the vice president of the Attica Survivors' Committee, which organized survivors of the 1971 prison uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York. At the uprising, prisoners rose up to protest the inhumane living conditions and abuse they endured.

While teaching at the public schools in Syracuse, New York, Jerome “Jerry” Berrigan advocated for the civil and human rights of racial and ethnic minorities. During the 1950s and 1960s, he served on a committee to desegregate Syracuse’s schools.

Jerry also protested racial discrimination in hiring and mortagage lending with the Congress on Racial Equality. In 1965, he traveled to Selma, Alabama to support the voter registration drive and Selma to Montgomery march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.