The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was formed in early 1967.
The ongoing civil rights campaign in the USA provided the new group with much of its inspiration.
At the same time there were other sources of encouragement in the period following NICRA’s establishment, notably the student demonstrations that took place in France during 1968.
What particularly appealed to NICRA’s leaders was the American groups' use of non-violent methods of civil disobedience as part of its campaign to achieve equality for black people.
Most importantly, by 1967 a series of marches and protests had led the US Congress to pass laws outlawing public discrimination and guaranteeing voting rights.
These successes were widely reported in Europe.
NICRA claimed to be open to both Protestants and Catholics, and also stated that it was not trying to create a united Ireland. Its aims were as follows: