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Archive for 'Pennsylvania Avenue'

Towards Freedom and Equality: The Americans With Disabilities Act

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Brenner, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, D.C.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, July 26, 1990, page 1. (National Archives Identifier 6037488)

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, July 26, 1990, page 1. (National Archives Identifier 6037488)

July marks the 25th anniversary of the historic moment when President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA prohibits employers, the government, and transportation, among other agencies and institutions, from discriminating against people with disabilities on the basis of their disabilities.

On July 26, 1990, a White House press release stated: “The American people have once again given clear expression to our most basic ideals of freedom and equality.”

Like other movements for freedom and equality, the disability community endured years of discrimination before the ADA established their equality under the law.

However, even before 1990, 1973 marked a turning point, when Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act banned discrimination against people with disabilities in the allocation of Federal funds. Previous antidiscrimination laws regarding race, ethnicity, and gender influenced this new legislation.

This law helped to build solidarity among people with different disabilities, and from 1973 through 1990, the disability community battled against trends of general deregulation across the government.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, July 26, 1990, signature page. (National Archives Identifier 6037488)

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, July 26, 1990, signature page. (National Archives Identifier 6037488)

Finally, on July 26, 1990, the ADA established “a clear and … [ Read all ]

New Web Exhibit on Center Market

"Front View of 7th Street Entrance to Center Market" October, 1922. (National Archives Identifier 7851122)

“Front View of 7th Street Entrance to Center Market” October, 1922. (National Archives Identifier 7851122)

In 1797, President George Washington designated two acres in the heart of Washington City for use as a public marketplace. For the next 134 years, Center Market was a Washington D.C. landmark on Pennsylvania Avenue, until it was demolished in 1931 to make way for the National Archives Building.

The National Archives History Office has produced a new online exhibit on Center Market, which is available in the Google Cultural Institute.

Throughout its history, Center Market was loud and lively. The marketplace was filled with crowds of people and transportation of all kinds. Street vendors or “hucksters,” farmers, and market men sold fruits, vegetables, and live animals to city-dwelling Washingtonians. The market attracted middle-class ladies, community leaders, businessmen, and social reformers.

"Plan on the Center Market and the Washington Market Company", 1869. (Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives)

“Plan on the Center Market and the Washington Market Company,” 1869. (Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives)

In its earliest days, Center Market was no more than a collection of ramshackle wooden sheds. Bordered by the Washington Canal, the swampy land earned it the nickname “Marsh Market.”

Early Washingtonians recalled hunting wild ducks in the wetlands near the market and purchasing live fish right from the Canal.

As the city of Washington D.C. grew, so did complaints about the dirt and disorder of the public market.

A group … [ Read all ]

Annual Birthday Party for the Declaration of Independence

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Brenner, an intern in the History Office at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The Fife and Drum Corps perform at the National Archives on July 4, 12013. (Photo by Jules Clifford)

The Fife and Drum Corps perform at the National Archives on July 4, 12013. (Photo by Jules Clifford)

For almost a half-century, the National Archives has held an annual birthday party on July 4, at the document’s home at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

This timeline marks the significant milestones in Archives Fourth of July celebrations:

  • 1776: Representatives to the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration was printed on July 4, and John Carlisle, a friend of George Washington’s and successful merchant, read it aloud on the streets of Philadelphia.
  • 1952: The Library of Congress, which  held the Declaration from 1924 through 1952, transferred the document to the National Archives. The first Independence Day it was on display at the Archives was July 4, 1953.
  • 1969: The National Archives Fourth of July became more extensive. A special exhibit opened to the public. In the early afternoon, the U.S. Army Band played a concert on the Constitution Avenue side of the Archives.
  • 1970: Visitors listened to the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence in the Rotunda.
  • 1976: Celebrations reached new levels when the Declaration turned 200 years old and the Archives established its annual July 4th event. On July 2,
[ Read all ]

National Archives War Memorial Plaque

National Archives Memorial Plaque (Photo courtesy of the National Archives History Office)

Photograph of National Archives Memorial Plaque, May 15, 2015. (Photograph courtesy of the National Archives History Office)

Hanging in the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance lobby of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, is a small plaque with the names of four men:

Ralph Leroy Dewsnup, Charles Edward Lewis, Julius Mayers and Augustus Julius Siko.

These four men were National Archives employees who died serving the United States during World War II.

In 1946 the National Archives created the plaque to honor these men and their service to our country.

The plaque’s dedication ceremony took place on January 29, 1947, in the Pennsylvania Avenue lobby, although now the plaque is displayed on a different wall than where it was originally unveiled.

The ceremony, attended by more than 100 National Archives employees, began with an invocation. Two National Archives staff members then performed a rendition of Kipling’s “Recessional.”

Bess Glenn, the employee association’s president, then unveiled the plaque.

Performance of "Taps" at War Memorial Plaque Dedication,, January 29, 1947. (Records of the National Archives)

Performance of “Taps” at War Memorial Plaque Dedication, January 29, 1947. (Records of the National Archives)

She remarked, “To give expression to our feeling of respect and admiration for these lost comrades, the employees of the National Archives have erected this memorial plaque. In honoring these four men we honor also all members of our staff who were in the armed services of our country.”

Following the unveiling, Archivist Solon J. Buck received … [ Read all ]

National Archives commemorates Memorial Day with video

To commemorate Memorial Day, the National Archives has released a short video about the importance of the holiday.

Timed for the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s death and the upcoming sesquicentennial of the 1866 founding of the Grand Army of the Republic (the fraternal organization of Union Civil War veterans), the National Archives created the video “Memorial Day 2015: Why it Matters.”

The video features Rodney Ross, an archivist in the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC, with an introduction by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero.

Ross demonstrates the importance of National Archives records to everyday Americans through the prism of a single National Archives document—a page from the muster roll of a Civil War soldier from his hometown of Batavia, Illinois.

Oscar F. Cooley's Compiled Military Service Record. (Records of the Adjutant General's Office, National Archives)

Oscar F. Cooley’s Compiled Military Service Record. (Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, National Archives)

The soldier, Union Pvt. Oscar F. Cooley, was killed in action during the siege at Vicksburg on June 8, 1863.

In the video Ross recounts his Memorial Day memories as a child growing up in Batavia, and shares an image of a statue from Batavia’s West Side Cemetery inscribed with the names of Batavians, primarily those with the 124th Illinois Volunteer Regiment, who fought for the Union in the Civil War.

Ross speaks at the Grand Army of the Republic Monument on Pennsylvania … [ Read all ]