Civil Rights Act of 1964 Exhibit Now Open

Civil Rights Act exhibitThe Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom opened at the Library of Congress on September 10th. This exhibit draws from collections across the library to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the act. It covers America’s long history of discrimination and segregation, the grassroots movement for civil rights, and the efforts of President Lyndon Johnson, lobbyists, and key congressmen and senators to get the bill passed in 1964. The exhibit features many objects from the American Folklife Center and the Veterans History Project. Ten tablets throughout the exhibit include 25 oral history clips from our collections, along with news and documentary footage from the the library’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center.

World War II section. Toward the bottom of the photograph you can see the multimedia tablet on which AFC oral history interviews can be played. Photograph by Stephen Winick.

World War II section. Toward the bottom of the photograph you can see the multimedia tablet on which AFC oral history interviews can be played. Photograph by Stephen Winick.

From the National Visionary Leadership Project, we chose clips from interviews with author Toni Morrison, Tuskegee Airman Lee Archer, U.S. Senator Edward Brooke, lawyer and U.S. Assistant Attorney Roger Wilkins, NAACP lawyers Benjamin Hooks, Derrick Bell, and Constance Baker Motley; and Clifford Alexander, chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Many new interview clips from the Civil Rights History Project are featured, including those with Korean War veteran Bill Saunders, NAACP secretary Mildred Bond Roxborough, Professor Freeman Hrabowski, journalist Moses Newson, and activists Joyce and Dorie Ladner, Ruby Sales, Courtland Cox, Chuck McDew, Marilyn Luper, Sam Mahone, Purcell Conway, and Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons. We also included clips of Fountain Hughes from the WPA Slave Narrative collection, Alan Lomax’s interview with blues musician Big Bill Broonzy, a Veterans History Project interview with Samuel Tucker, and photographs and letters from the Voices of Civil Rights collection, the Wayne Anderson Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964 collection, and the Kenje Ogata collection from the Veterans History Project.

The exhibit will be in the Southwest Gallery on the 2nd floor of the Thomas Jefferson building until September 12, 2015. Digital copies of all of the objects will be available soon on the exhibit website. Please check the Library of Congress schedule of events for upcoming gallery talks and related events.


Fandango: Convivial Sharing

The following is a guest post authored by Russell Rodríguez of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.  Rodríguez will visit the Library with three master musicians, three apprentices, and several guest musicians, on September 11, 2014, for the concert Masters of Son Jarocho. During the golden era of film, radio, and recordings in Mexico (1936 […]

A Long-Term Endeavor: Digitizing Veterans History Project Collections

The following is a guest blog post by Andrew Cassidy-Amstutz, VHP Archivist.   One of the most common questions that the Veterans History Project (VHP) receives relating to our collections is “Why can’t I view my collection online yet?” While the answer to this question varies by individual collection, there are several cross-cutting issues that […]

Work Songs and Other Laborlore for Labor Day

With Labor Day approaching, I’d love to introduce you to some of our resources on the folklore and folklife of labor. This area of study has many names, from the more formal “occupational folk culture” to the more colloquial “laborlore.”  It also has many sub-areas, from the study of occupational folk speech, including jargon, to […]

Belief, Legend, and the Great Moon Hoax

During the week of August 25, 1835, the world was treated to a fantastic story of scientific discoveries by the famous British astronomer, Sir John Herschel. He had realized the speculations of his father, astronomer Sir William Herschel, as he discovered life on the moon.[1]  Or so the readers of The New York Sun were […]

The Two First “Folk-Lore” Columns

This post presents two primary source documents, both in the public domain, which are difficult to find online. Both relate to my previous post on William John Thoms. They are the first two columns in Thoms’ series “Folk-Lore,” which ran in the journal The Athenæum from 1846 to 1849, and in Notes & Queries from […]

“He Coined the Word ‘Folk-Lore’”: The “Old Folk-Lorist” William John Thoms

August 22 is an important date to folklore fans.  It is, in fact, the anniversary of the first appearance of the (originally hyphenated) word “Folk-Lore” in print. The medium was a letter to the editor of the Athenæum, a scholarly journal, and the author was William John Thoms, although he wrote the letter under his […]

The Quebe Sisters: Western Swing & Texas-Style Fiddle

The following is a guest post by Charles Lockwood, the Operations & Development Director of Texas Folklife, Austin Texas. Mr. Lockwood has an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Quebe Sisters Band performs in AFC’s Homegrown Concert Series on August 20, 2014. Follow the link for more information. While their […]