Displaying the Civil Rights Act, 1964

Today’s blog is written by Alan Walker, Archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland

Only a short time after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, the National Archives had it on exhibit. It made a big impression on visitors who came from across the country and around the world to view the document that would forever change the lives of Americans.

GSA News Release

GSA News Release

Visit of Mrs. Gladys Sheriff to National Archives, July 23, 1964. Viewing Civil Rights Act of 1964 exhibit, with a visitor. Mrs. Sheriff is assistant librarian of Fourah Bay College, University College, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Visit of Mrs. Gladys Sheriff to National Archives, July 23, 1964. Viewing Civil Rights Act of 1964 exhibit, with a visitor. Mrs. Sheriff is assistant librarian of Fourah Bay College, University College, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The Act was first displayed in the Pennsylvania Avenue lobby of the Archives Building, then was moved to the Exhibition Hall behind the Rotunda when space for it became available. Here it is, as displayed in the lobby:

Civil Rights Act of 1964 on display at the National Archives in Washington, D. C.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 on display at the National Archives in Washington, D. C.

In August 1964, tour guides from the New York World’s Fair arrived for a visit, and the Civil Rights Act was a focal point.

Deputy Archivist Robert H. Bahmer with Foreign Tour Guides from the World's Fair, August 21, 1964

Deputy Archivist Robert H. Bahmer with Foreign Tour Guides from the World’s Fair, August 21, 1964

Crafted in a time of unspeakable violence and danger in the South, this document, so hardly fought and dearly bought, served as a sign of hope that things would get better.

***Pages of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are currently on display through September 16, 2014 at the National Archives Museum, located on the National Mall at Constitution and 9th St., NW.*** Press Release

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One Response to Displaying the Civil Rights Act, 1964

  1. Alexis Hill says:

    Another great piece of history on display!

    Like

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