Rosa Parks, In Her Own Words: A Short Documentary

Rosa Parks was one of the major figures of the American 20th Century, which the Library’s new exhibit demonstrates. But she’s really not the “quiet seamstress” of popular myth. From childhood, when she sat up nights with her shotgun-toting grandfather who was ready to defend his family from KKK attackers, she was an intense, committed activist with a deep sense of social justice.

In this six-minute documentary, Condoleezza Rice, Bryan Stevenson, Ken Burns, Jacqueline Woodson, Sharon Robinson and Parks biographer Jeanne Theoharis read from her private writings and talk of the woman behind the icon. As Burns says, “It’s imporant that we liberate Rosa Parks, and liberate ourselves, from the tyranny of superficial history.”

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Pic of the Week: Harriet Tubman, Seen as Never Before

In a March 25 ceremony, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and National Museum of African American History and Culture Director Lonnie Bunch unveiled the photo album of abolionist Emily Howland, featuring a previously unknown portrait of Harriet Tubman. The portrait, taken around 1868, captures Tubman in her mid 40s, years younger than most surviving photographs that show her late in life

African-American History Month: First Pan-African Congress

This is a guest post by Ryan Reft, a historian in the Manuscript Division. It coincides with the centenary this month of the first Pan-African Congress. The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line, author and civil rights pioneer W.E.B. DuBois famously wrote in “To the Nations of the World,” […]

African-American History Month: The Struggle for Civil Rights Past, Present and Future

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Researcher and Reference Services Division. A few weeks ago, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work as an activist. Some 100 years before King’s powerful entry into the civil rights movement, however, the fight for civil rights […]

An 1848 Christmas Story: The Gift of Freedom

This is a guest post by Lavonda Kay Broadnax, digital reference specialist in the Library’s Research and Reference Services Division. December is a month of holidays and festivities that bring families and friends together to celebrate their good fortune and look forward to the year ahead. For the enslaved couple William and Ellen Craft, the […]

“Do the Right Thing”: National Film Registry 30/30

The following is part of a 30-post series on the Library’s Now See Hear! blog celebrating 30 years of our National Film Registry, which selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced next month. This […]

Pic of the Week: Mandela Grandson Shares Lessons He Learned from His Grandfather

Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of South African leader and humanitarian Nelson Mandela, spoke in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress on June 27 with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden about his recently published memoir, “Going to the Mountain: Life Lessons from My Grandfather.” Drawing on the memoir, Mandela talked about growing up under […]