News Column

National Archives Marks Civil Rights Act's 50th Anniversary with Display and Programs

June 18, 2014



WASHINGTON, June 18 -- The National Archives and Records Administration issued the following news release:

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Archives today begins a special display of the original Civil Rights Act, and will host special programs July 1 and July 29. The display and events are free and open to the public, and take place at the National Archives Museum, located on the National Mall at Constitution and 9th St., NW.

Featured Document Display

Now through September 16, 2014, Records of Rights exhibit

Starting today, the National Archives is displaying the first and signature pages of the Civil Rights Act (http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=97) in the National Archives' new permanent exhibition "Records of Rights" in the David M. Rubenstein Gallery (http://www.archives.gov/nae/visit/rubenstein-gallery.html). Note: the original signature page will be on display through July 13 and will then be replaced with a facsimile.

FILM SCREENING: A Time for Justice and Mighty Times: The Children's March

Tuesday, July 1, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater (http://www.archives.gov/nae/visit/theater.html)

To commemorate this important anniversary, the National Archives presents two Academy Award-winning documentaries. A Time for Justice (1994; 38 minutes) depicts the battle for civil rights as told by its foot soldiers. Directed by four-time Academy Award winner Charles Guggenheim, the film reveals the heroism of individuals who risked their lives for the cause of freedom and equality. Mighty Times: The Children's March (2004; 40 minutes) tells the story of how the young people of Birmingham, Alabama, braved fire hoses and police dogs in 1963 and brought segregation to its knees. Both films are being screened courtesy of Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION: Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment

Tuesday, July 29, at 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater (http://www.archives.gov/nae/visit/theater.html)

Robert Drew's cinema verite work chronicles how President John F. Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy clashed with Governor George Wallace over racial integration at the University of Alabama in 1963. (1963; 52 minutes) Following the screening, Michele Norris Johnson moderates a discussion featuring Sharon Malone and Peggy Wallace. Presented in partnership with the 2014 March on Washington Film Festival.

The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Metro accessible on Yellow or Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily. Free admission. Additional information on exhibits and programs at the National Archives Museum can be found online (http://www.archives.gov/nae/visit).

About the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal. This document was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. For more information and high resolution images, www.archives.gov/nae/visit/featured-documents.html.

* See background information and a transcript (http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=97) of the Civil Rights Act on the list of 100 Milestone Documents (http://www.ourdocuments.gov/content.php?page=milestone) of American history on www.ourdocuments.gov.

* See the National Archives "Documented Rights" online exhibit section on civil rights: /exhibits/documented-rights/exhibit/

* See DocsTeach online resources and related Civil Rights Act lesson plans for educators: http://docsteach.org/documents/299891/detail

About the Records of Rights exhibit

"Records of Rights" is free and open to the public and is on permanent display in the David M. Rubenstein Gallery of the National Archives Musuem in Washington, DC. The National Archives is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily.

"Records of Rights" uses original documents, photographs, facsimiles, videos, and interactive exhibits to explore how Americans have worked to realize the ideals of freedom enshrined in our nation's founding documents, and how they debated issues such as citizenship, free speech, voting rights, and equal opportunity. Exploring many stories--and showcasing the drive for civil rights for African Americans, women, and immigrants-the new exhibition chronicles the past and current generations whose efforts to secure equality under the law have shaped the country we live in today.

Through a companion website, RecordsofRights.org , the public can experience the exhibition beyond the gallery walls.

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