Archive for 'News and Events'
Opened in 1935, the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, was created to hold the nation’s most important and influential documents in American history.
The National Archives History Office has produced a new online exhibit on the National Archives Building, which is available in Google Cultural Institute.
In the 19th century, historians and elected officials began campaigning for a central archive to hold all of the Federal Government’s records. At that time, Federal records were in grave danger of permanent loss as a result of damage from improper housing.
Congress finally authorized the construction of the National Archives Building by passing the Public Buildings Act in 1926. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation establishing the National Archives as an agency in 1934.
Occupying a unique position in Washington—halfway between the White House and the Capitol— the National Archives Building was designed by celebrated architect John Russell Pope.
At the building’s cornerstone ceremony in 1933, President Herbert Hoover declared:
“This temple of our history will be appropriately one of the most beautiful buildings in America, an expression of the American soul. It will be one of the most durable, an expression of the American character.”
The National Archives Building is an architectural … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jessie Kratz on September 8, 2015, under National Archives History, News and Events, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: Constitution Avenue, john russell pope, National Archives building, online exhibit
Today’s post comes from Darlene McClurkin, from the National Archives Exhibits staff.
On September 2, 1945, in a formal ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan, representatives of the Japanese government signed this Instrument of Surrender, officially ending World War II.
The terms called for “the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.” However it also preserved the Japanese Imperial House.
Signing for Japan was Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.
General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific, signed for the United States and accepted the surrender in his capacity as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz also signed for the United States.
Then representatives from eight other Allied nations signed, including the Republic of China, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. The ceremony took less than 30 minutes.
After the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was presented to President Harry S. Truman at the White House on September 7, 1945, it was put on exhibit at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Alex Nieuwsma, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a milestone in American history. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it on August 6, 1965, marking the culmination of decades of efforts toward African American equality.
The 15th Amendment, passed in 1870, clearly stated that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
In response, many southern states issued voting tests to African Americans that all but guaranteed they would fail and be unable to vote. Furthermore, the Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine permitting racial segregation. While African Americans were legally citizens of the United States, they commonly had separate drinking fountains, stores, bus seats, and schools.
The civil rights movement grew immensely after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. The Board of Education ruling in 1954, which struck down the Plessy v. Ferguson decision and deemed the segregation of schools to be unconstitutional.
The leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., further propelled the movement.
A Baptist preacher in … [ Read all ]
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.
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 ]
For 18 months in the late 1940s, some of the nation’s most important historical documents toured the country in a traveling museum called the Freedom Train.
The National Archives History Office has produced a new online exhibit on the Freedom Train, which is available in the Google Cultural Institute.
Viewed by more than 3.5 million Americans, the Freedom Train stopped in cities in each of the 48 states (Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states at this time).
The Freedom Train was intended to increase awareness of the need to preserve important documents as well as to allow Americans throughout the country to see these documents.
The American Heritage Foundation was created to design, protect, and operate the train and its contents.
A committee containing members from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and other government agencies planned and designed the exhibit.
A group of 27 Marines was hand selected to protect the Freedom Train on its tour, and a coalition of railroad companies ensured that the Freedom Train would travel across America as efficiently as possible.