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"The Civil Rights Act of 1964" Exhibition Will Feature 50 New Items
2/23/2015 4:32:46 PM

The Library of Congress exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” will feature 50 new items starting Saturday, March 7, including several items from the recently acquired Rosa Parks Collection.

To conduct this rotation of materials, the Library will close “The Civil Rights Act of 1964” exhibition, and the adjacent exhibition “Thomas Jefferson’s Library,” each day from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, March 2 to March 6.  The galleries will reopen to the public each day at 11 a.m. 

"The Civil Rights Act of 1964” exhibition opened in September 2014 and will be extended from its previous closing date of September 2015 to Jan. 2, 2016.  Free and open to the public 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, the exhibition is located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

During the month of February, docents will give highlight tours of the exhibition on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1 p.m.  Please meet the docent at the second-floor information desk by the exhibition entrance.

The three Rosa Parks Collection items that will be added to the exhibition include a two-page document with Parks’ instructions to participants in the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955; Parks’ date book from 1955 listing drivers for the boycott; and a flier for Parks’ speaking engagement at Sharp Street Methodist Church that reads,  “First Time in Baltimore! Hear! Mrs. Rosa Parks. Sunday, September 23, 1956, 3 p.m.” (Note: Additional items from the Rosa Parks Collection will be on display from Monday, March 2 through Monday, March 30 on the first floor of the Jefferson Building.  For more information, visit

Among the 50 new items in “The Civil Rights Act of 1964,” highlights include a report from James Forman, executive secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, on the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama on March 7, 1965; an image of President Lyndon B. Johnson giving Martin Luther King one of the pens used in the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; a photograph of the silent protest parade in New York City against the East St. Louis riots in 1917; an image by photographer Bruce Davison of a civil-rights demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama, showing students praying outside a municipal building; and an image by photographer Carter Roosevelt of entertainer Josephine Baker standing at a podium on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963.

With more than 200 items, the “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” exhibition features the legal and legislative challenges and victories leading to its passage, shedding light on the individuals—both prominent leaders and private citizens—who participated in the decades-long campaign for equality.  Correspondence and documents from civil-rights leaders and organizations, photographs, newspapers, legal briefs, drawings and posters are on view.  Audio-visual stations throughout the gallery show more than 70 clips of dramatic events such as protests, sit-ins, boycotts and other public actions against segregation and discrimination.  Also included is eyewitness testimony of activists and from participants who helped craft the law.

The exhibition features two videos co-produced with HISTORY®.  An introductory film narrated by Julian Bond, a political and civil-rights leader and professor at American University and the University of Virginia, focuses on the significance of the Civil Rights Act.  The second film explores the impact of the Civil Rights Act and features interviews with Taylor Branch, author and historian; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement; and Risa Goluboff, professor of law at the University of Virginia.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” is made possible by a generous grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, with additional support from HISTORY® for both audio-visual and educational content and outreach.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats.  The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at 


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