Archive for June, 2014
Every year, we celebrate Independence Day on the steps of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. It’s a fun, free event for the whole family!
This year, Steve Scully of C-SPAN is our Master of Ceremonies. The Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will welcome the crowds. Our special guests George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Ned Hector, and Abigail Adams will read aloud the Declaration of Independence. This is your chance to boo and huzzah like the colonists of 1776!
The 3rd United States Infantry “Old Guard” Continental Color Guard will present the colors, and a soloist from the United States Navy Band will sing the National Anthem.
After the program, you can go inside and see the original Declaration of Independence in the Rotunda, where it is on permanent display. (Look for the mysterious handprint!) And don’t miss the family activities in the Boeing Learning Center.
Here’s the schedule of events—stay and watch the parade afterwards!
8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Discovering the National Archives
- Sign a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence on 7th Street and Constitution Avenue.
10 – 11 a.m.
Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony
- Ceremony emcee, C-SPAN host Steve Scully
- Presentation of colors by the Continental Color Guard*
- Performance of “America the Beautiful” by four-time international whistling champion Christopher Ullman
- National Anthem
Today’s post comes from David Steinbach, intern in the National Archives History Office.
On July 2, 1964, with Martin Luther King, Jr., directly behind him, President Lyndon Johnson scrawled his signature on a document years in the making—the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark legislation.
The first and the signature pages of the act will be on display at the National Archives Rubenstein Gallery in Washington, DC, until September 17, 2014. These 50-year-old sheets of paper represent years of struggle and society’s journey toward justice.
The most comprehensive civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction era, the Civil Right Act finally gave the Federal Government the means to enforce the promises of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The act prohibited discrimination in public places, allowed the integration of public facilities and schools, and forbade discrimination in employment.
But such a landmark congressional enactment was by no means achieved easily. Indeed, developments within the civil rights movement were critical in motivating the bill’s movement through Congress. The push for legislation accelerated in May 1963, when nightly news broadcasts displayed footage of Eugene “Bull” Connor cracking down on demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama.
In this atmosphere, President John F. Kennedy demanded a strong civil rights bill in a national address on June 11: “The heart of the question is whether all Americans … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jessie Kratz on June 30, 2014, under - The 1960s, News and Events, Pennsylvania Avenue, U.S. House, U.S. Senate.
Tags: Civil Rights Act, JFK, LBJ, National Archives Museum, Rubenstein Gallery
Today’s post celebrates the international sporting event that captivates billions of people every four years: the World Cup!
Brazilian icon Pele is one of the world’s most recognized footballers. He is one of the few players to appear in four World Cup finals and the only player to win three World Cup titles (1958, 1962, and 1970).
After he retired from international soccer, Pele dazzled New Yorkers from 1975 to 1977 playing in the North American Soccer League for the New York Cosmos. He’s widely credited with sparking American interest in the beautiful game.
In addition to being the world’s ambassador to football, Pele has been a frequent visitor to the White House.
In 1973, President Richard Nixon hosted Pele and his then-wife Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi. During the visit, the President told Pele “You are the greatest in the world,” and when Pele explained to the President that soccer differed from American football, Nixon replied “Do I know that! The main thing is to use your head.”
Two years later, Pele again visited the White House—this time in the Rose Garden. President Gerald Ford took the opportunity to demonstrate that Pele was not the only one who could juggle a soccer ball.
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan, not wanting to be out-classed by his predecessors, kicked the ball around with U.S. Men’s National Team … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives.
On June 24 at noon, the National Archives celebrates its anniversary with a special film event: From the Vaults: 80th Anniversary of the National Archives
If you have ever visited the National Archives in Washington, DC, you may have noticed two very, very large bronze doors that mark the original Constitution Avenue entrance to the building. Visitors enter through the Constitution Avenue entrance to view the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights as well as the many other exhibits the National Archives Museum offers.
These bronze doors stand about 37 feet, 7 inches high and are 10 feet wide and 11 inches thick. Each weighs roughly 6.5 tons. The building’s architect, John Russell Pope, understanding the national significance of the structure, sought to design a public exhibition hall of monumental proportions. As a reminder to visitors of the importance of the building’s purpose, the public exhibition hall Pope designed—the rotunda—measures 75 feet high; the bronze doors leading into the exhibition hall match that in size and character.
The doors were first opened on October 18, 1935. Then visitors to the National Archives climbed up 39 steps on Constitution Avenue and walked past two rows of giant Corinthian columns before passing through the large, motorized doors. Each morning, guards opened the doors by turning … [ Read all ]
Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz, Historian of the National Archives. June 19 marks the 80th Anniversary of the establishment of the National Archives.
Eighty years ago on June 19, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation creating the National Archives. It was the culmination of a 25-year campaign by the historical community to create a National Archives building to house the national government’s records.
At that time, Federal records were scattered around the Washington area in inadequate and unsuitable storage facilities. They were neither organized nor accessible for public use.
Supporters of a National Archives argued that those records—the written evidence of our national life and achievements—must be preserved for future generations.
In 1926, Congress took the first major step in creating a home for the nation’s records by authorizing construction of an Archives building. It was part of a massive public buildings project to provide office space for government agencies in the Federal Triangle area of downtown Washington, DC.
The Archives building was well under way before Congress created the agency that would occupy it.
An April 1934 House Report on the bill to establish the National Archives described the situation:
The great National Archives Building on Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues is nearing competition. The interior arrangement of shelf space, equipment, etc., providing for the custody of Government documents, is ready for consideration. Legislation