Vote!

Poster shows the hand and arm of a man reaching to press the lever under "Freedom of Enterprise"; other choices on the voting machine are "Freedom of Worship," "Freedom of Speech," and "Freedom of Press."

A 1943 poster encouraging Americans to vote during World War II. Artist: Chester R. Miller. Prints and Photographs Division.

This civic poster from the days of World War II is always a good reminder that the right to vote is something that millions of Americans have fought to earn, protect and defend. It cost something. So, as we always do on Election Day, we encourage you to exercise that right. Vote your conscience. We keep the blog short to give you more time to get there. We’ll see you later in the week.

 

Bill Russell: In His Own Words

Bill Russell, the legendary basketball player and civil rights stalwart who died Sunday at the age of 88, filmed an unforgettable conversation for the Civil Rights History Project, an oral history production by the Library and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History, in 2013. It’s three hours and was conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch. What comes through strongest is the rock-solid voice of Bill Russell, American icon, who learned from his grandfather to “don’t take nothing from nobody.”

George Chauncey, Kluge Winner

Historian George Chauncey, whose work has focused on LGBTQ issues for four decades, is the 2022 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity. The Kluge Prize awards $500,000 to scholars for distinguished work in fields outside those covered by the Nobel Prize. Previous winners include political historian Danielle Allen, philosopher Jurgen Habermas, former president of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and John Hope Franklin, the renowned scholar of African American history.

The Case that “Gutted” Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, one of the most consequential Americans of the 20th century, was born on Feb. 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her activism was galvanized decades before the Montgomery bus boycott by the sexualized violence of whites against Blacks in her native Alabama. This activism is featured in this short documentary by the Library of Congress, which holds her papers.

Protest Preserved: Signs from D.C.’s Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence

Dozens of signs from the Black Lives Matter protest site across from the White House are being preserved at the Library and are now online. The protests, which lasted nearly a year from 2020 and into 2021, rallied against police violence toward African Americans after the police killing of George Floyd

Rodney King Beating Was 30 Years Ago Today; Courtroom Sketches Now at Library

The Library recently acquired courtroom artist Mary Chaney’s sketches from the trials of Rodney King in Los Angeles from 1992-1994. The Black motorist was beaten viciously by white police officers after a high-speed chase in 1991. The acquittal of the officers in state court set off days of deadly riots and became a touchstone in American society.