The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom Exhibit

Journal of Pan African Studies, December 2015 | Go to article overview

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom Exhibit


The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom exhibit in Washington, D.C. (until January 2, 2016) commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, and thus, explores the events that shaped the civil rights movement, as well as the far-reaching impact the act had on a changing society. The act is considered the most significant piece of civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in voting, public accommodations, public facilities, public education, federally funded programs, and employment. Audiovisual stations throughout the exhibition present archival footage of the era, as well as contemporary interviews with civil rights leaders and activists reflecting on the civil rights era. The exhibit (open September 10, 2014-January 2, 2016) is inside the Thomas Jefferson Building on the second floor of the Southwest Exhibition Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Exhibit Overview

Upon signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson reflected that Americans had begun their "long struggle for freedom" with the Declaration of Independence. Although that document had proclaimed that "all men are created equal," such freedom had eluded most Americans of African descent until the Thirteenth Amendment, which formally abolished enslavement in the United States in 1865. In the years immediately following, the nation ratified two additional amendments, and the United States Congress passed a number of laws extending full citizenship rights to African Americans. …

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