Archive for '- Civil Rights'
Today’s blog post comes from National Archives social media intern Anna Fitzpatrick.
January 1 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. While this document is remembered for freeing the slaves in the Southern states, petitioners had been attempting to end slavery since the nation’s founding. Petitions by anti-slavery groups were sent to the newly elected Congress soon after it first met.
On December 30, 1799, the Reverend Absalom Jones and other free blacks of Philadelphia sent a petition to Congress. Although they recognized the “blessing” of their freedom, they were concerned about their fellow men: “We cannot be insensible of the condition of our afflicted Brethren, suffering under various circumstances in different parts of these States; but deeply sympathizing with them, We are incited by a sense of Social duty and humbly conceive ourselves authorized to address and petition you in their behalf.”
Jones and the petitioners noted that the Constitution “is violated by a trade carried on in a clandestine manner to the Coast of Guinea.” They also mentioned that the Southerners’ practice of kidnapping free African Americans and transporting them to Southern states in order to sell them also violated the “solemn Compact” of the Constitution. The petition ends with this appeal:
In the Constitution, and the Fugitive bill, no mention is made of Black people or Slaves—therefore if the Bill of
Posted by Hilary on December 4, 2012, under - Civil Rights, - Civil War.
Tags: Absalom Jones, African Americans, Congress, Emancipation Proclamation, EP 150, free blacks, Philadelphia, slave trade, slavery
Today’s guest post was written by Barbara Hackman Franklin, former White House staff member for the recruitment of women and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The story of how Franklin and other women cracked the glass ceiling is finally told in a new book that draws from “A Few Good Women,” an oral history project at the Penn State University Libraries. The National Archives will host a special program to launch A Matter of Simple Justice: The Untold Story of Barbara Hackman Franklin and A Few Good Women on March 8.
The Nixon administration is remembered for many things, but advancing women’s roles in the workforce is usually not one of them. Yet in August 1972, Newsweek wrote that “the person in Washington who has done the most for the women’s movement may be Richard Nixon.”
Here is what happened.
First, on April 21, 1971, President Nixon issued a Memorandum for Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads outlining the administration’s new women’s initiative. The President called on all departments and agencies to create action plans to hire, promote, and advance women. Specifically, the plans had to address appointing more women to top-level positions, increasing the number of women in mid-level positions as well as on advisory boards and commissions.
This Presidential directive wasn’t just for show. It required specific targets and action plans to increase the … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on March 5, 2012, under - Civil Rights, - Revolutionary War, - Women's Rights.
Tags: "A Few Good women", 1971, Atomic Energy Commission, Barabara Hackman Franklin, Civil Service Commission, Dixy Lee Ray, Federal Maritime Commission, Helen Delich Bentley, Jayne Baker Spain, Marina Whitman, Memorandum for Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads, Newsweek, Nixon, Whitman, women
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to launch our new “History Crush” series. Staff from across the National Archives will share which historic person in our holdings makes their heart beat a little faster! Our inaugural guest post comes from Natalie Rocchio, who is an archives specialist at the Center for Legislative Archives in the National Archives.
Since starting at the Center for Legislative Archives, I’ve been crushing on a certain former statesman from Massachusetts . . . and no, he’s not a Kennedy.
My history crush is Senator Charles Sumner, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1833. He was a world traveler (it’s said that he spoke at least three languages fluently!). He was a gifted orator and a well-known pacifist. As a member of Congress, he worked to end slavery in America and ensure civil rights for African Americans.
Sumner began his political career in 1848. He was elected to the Senate in 1851 as a member of the Free Soil Party and later reelected as a member of the Opposition, Republican, and Liberal Republication Parties from 1855 to 1874.
In 1856, he delivered a speech called “Crime Against Kansas” during the Kansas statehood debate in which he denounced slavery and attacked other senators who supported the institution. On May 22, after the Senate had adjourned for the day, Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina walked … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on February 14, 2012, under - Civil Rights, - Civil War, History Crush.
Tags: African Americans, Andrew Butler, Center for Legislative Archives, Charles Sumner, Crime Against Kansas, Free Soil party, Harvard Law School, Natalie Rocchio, Preston Brooks, Sumner Civil Rights bill, Ulysses S. Grant, Valentine's Day
Today’s guest post is from Edith Lee-Payne.
The dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial will take place this Sunday, October 16. One of the women in attendence will be Edith Lee-Payne.
You might recognize her. Photographer Rowland Scherman snapped a photo of Edith, then a 12-year-old girl with her mother, holding a banner at the March on Washington.
But although the photograph was taken in 1963, Ms. Lee-Payne did not know about the image until 2008. With the help of a librarian and an archivist, she was able to locate the photograph of herself at the march.
Here, in her own words, is her story of attending the march on August 28 and finding her record in the National Archives more than 40 years later.
Washington, DC, was home for my mother before settling in Detroit, Michigan. After Dr. King led a march in Detroit on June 23, 1963, my mother scheduled our vacation to attend the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, which also happened to be my twelfth birthday.
I lived the dream Dr. King spoke of. My neighborhood was integrated. We attended the same schools and sometimes shared worship experiences. We dined at restaurants with lunch counters without incident and drank from water fountains without signs distinguishing “color.” My mother never learned to drive, so buses and cabs were our primary mode of transportation, … [ Read all ]
This Sunday is the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. To commemorate the event, the National Archives is displaying a program from the march in the East Rotunda Gallery and screening The March on August 27 and 28.
The first reel of this documentary (embedded below) shows the lead-up to the march—from assembling thousand of picket signs to making 80,000 cheese sandwiches for bagged lunches to the long bus rides into the Washington, DC. The first 12 minutes gives a different view of the event from the usual clips of the March on Washington.
The film was directed by James Blue, who was later nominated for an Oscar in 1969 for another documentary, A Few Notes on Our Food Problem.
The March was made as part of a series of films created by the United States Information Agency (USIA), founded by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. These films were meant to promote American policies in foreign countries, without being overt propaganda. (You can read about the agency’s anticommunism message in this Text Message post about the race to the Moon.)
But these USIA films were rarely seen in America because of concerns about the U.S. Government propagandizing its own people. The 1948 Smith-Mundt Act mandated that no USIA film could be shown domestically … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on August 26, 2011, under - Civil Rights, - Cold War, - The 1960s, News and Events, Rare Videos.
Tags: Congress, Eisenhower, James Blue, March on Washington, Oscar, Smith-Mundt Act, The March, United States Information Agency, USIA