Discharge Petition #14 Filed by Oscar De Priest Regarding H. Res. 236, a Resolution to Prevent Discrimination, 01/24/1934 - 03/05/1934
Item from Records of the U.S. House of Representatives. (04/01/1789 -)
This resolution and discharge petition from Representative Oscar De Priest, a Republican from Illinois, attempted to end racial discrimination in the House of Representatives’ Restaurant. De Priest introduced H. Res. 236 to the House, which called for the creation of a special committee to investigate the House Restaurant’s refusal to serve two African Americans, one of whom was a member of his staff. When the resolution stalled in the Rules Committee, De Priest successfully used a discharge petition to move the bill out and onto the House floor.
Don’t forget to check out the National Archives’ future exhibition “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures,” opening to the public on March 21, 2014!
"Serg’t. Stephen A. Swails particularly distinguished himself for coolness and bravery; he is a man in every way competent to do credit in a higher position, and I with pleasure recommend him for a Second Lieutenancy in this Regt."
Letter from Colonel Edward Hallowell to the Governor of Massachusetts, 2/24/1864
Regimental and Company Books of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (Colored) Regiment, 05/13/1863 - 09/01/1865. Records of the Adjutant General’s Office
Recognizing the abilities of Sgt. Stephen A. Swails, Col. E. N. Hallowell recommends that Swails be promoted to second lieutenant and Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew commissioned Swails on March 11, 1864. However, the War Department would deny this request because Swails is “of African descent.” Swails would eventually be granted his promotion in 1865 and his seniority adjusted to May 14, 1864—the day he was assigned duty as a second lieutenant.
Happy Birthday Jackie Robinson! January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Former National Baseball League player, Jackie Robinson with his son.], 08/28/1963
Rowland Scherman, photographer.
Born 95 years ago today, Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. This decision would not only integrate baseball, but would help the country work to achieve equal rights for all. Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., once commented to baseball pitcher Don Newcombe, “Don, you and Jackie will never know how easy you made my job, through what you went through on the baseball field.”
Before becoming famous, Lt. Jack R. Robinson was court-martialed at Camp Hood, Texas, because he refused to move to the back of the bus after being told to do so by a bus driver and disobeying an order from a superior officer. Robinson was acquitted of all charges and received an honorable discharge, but this was not the only experience he would have in fighting discrimination.
Many of these milestone events from Robinson’s life are documented in primary sources from the National Archives.
Holy Act of Congress, Batman! Equal Pay for Equal Work!
January 29 is the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In commemoration, our colleagues in the NARA Motion Picture Preservation Lab have posted this 1973 Public Service Announcement (PSA) in which Batgirl explains the concept of “equal pay for equal work” to her boss (Batman) and co-worker (Robin). Luckily for them she is equally adept at disarming nefarious devices.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was the first piece of legislation signed by President Barack Obama. It updated the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sex when determining pay for employees doing the same work.
The 2009 Act resets the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal pay lawsuit each time a paycheck reflecting a discriminatory pay decision is issued. It was named for Lilly Ledbetter, whose equal-pay suit against her employer was dismissed by the Supreme Court because she had not filed it within 180 days of the discriminatory pay decision. Ledbetter says she was not aware of the pay discrepancy during that window of time.
Batman , ca. 1973.
From the General Records of the Employment Standards Administration
Our favorite #museumselfie is hanging up over our main entrance!
The girl in the middle is Edith Lee-Payne, and she was snapped by a photographer at the March in Washington, DC, in 1963. Her photograph became an iconic image, but she had no idea she was in the National Archives until 2008.
You can read more about Edith’s story of finding herself in the National Archives in this Prologue post.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking.], 08/28/1963
Rowland Scherman, photographer. From the Records of the U.S. Information Agency
See all our previous Martin Luther King, Jr. posts, and the recent series from the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
A free screening and discussion of the Mildred and Richard Loving story, tonight, January 9 at 7pm at the National Archives!
A racially charged criminal trial and a heart-rending love story converge in this 2007 documentary film about Mildred and Richard Loving.
On Thursday, January 9, at 7 p.m. watch a free screening at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Attorney Phil Hirschkop (who pled the case in front of the US Supreme Court) will discuss the film. (77 minutes.)
The marriage of Mildred (who was part African American black and part Native American) and Richard (who was white) was declared illegal in 1958 by their home state of Virginia. They refused to leave one another and, with the help of the ACLU, pursued their right to happiness.
Their case reached the Supreme Court, which in 1967 struck down laws against interracial marriage in this country. With newly discovered footage of the Lovings and their lawyers, first-person testimony, and rare documentary photographs, this film takes us behind the scenes of the legal challenges and the emotional turmoil of the landmark case.
Police Report on Arrest of Rosa Parks
On December 1, 1955, during a typical evening rush hour in Montgomery, Alabama, a 42 year-old woman took a seat near the front of the bus on her way home from the Montgomery Fair department store where she worked as a seamstress. Refusing to yield her seat to a white passenger when instructed by the bus driver, police were called and she was arrested.
The police report shows that Rosa Parks was charged with “refusing to obey orders of bus driver.” According to the report, she was taken to the police station, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and briefly incarcerated.
The event touched off a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system in which a 26-year-old unknown minister, Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged as the leader.
(more via DocsTeach)
Yesterday we celebrated our veterans. But during World War II, one million African American men and the thousands of African American women were serving their country in racially segregated units.
In 1948, President Truman changed that by signing this landmark document.
This Executive Order called for equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces of the United States. Do you think it should be the first document to go display in our new “Records of Rights” exhibit? http://go.usa.gov/Djrh
Many years later, General Colin Powell would credit Truman for this move towards equality and civil rights:
“The military was the only institution in all of America—because of Harry Truman—where a young black kid, now twenty-one years old, could dream the dream he dared not think about at age eleven. It was the one place where the only thing that counted was courage, where the color of your guts and the color of your blood was more important than the color of your skin.”
Cast your vote for Executive Order 9981 to be displayed first in the new “Records of Rights” gallery. http://go.usa.gov/Djrh
"A person cannot be a true American and not believe in equal rights."
Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Teenager Dana Anderson Regarding Equal Rights, 09/29/1957
A telegram from Martin Luther King Jr. to President Kennedy re: the 16th Street Church bombings. Fifty years ago today, four girls - Addie Mae Collins (14), Denise McNair (11), Carole Robertson (14), and Cynthia Wesley (14) - were killed in the attack.
Looking back on the March on Washington
The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom might be over, but that’s not the end!
Jump start your research with this overview of records at the National Archives about the March: Rediscovering Black History » Let Freedom Ring!!! Honoring the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom →
Check out James Blue’s monumental 1963 film, ”The March” digitally restored by the National Archives Motion Picture Preservation staff, and now available on YouTube:
The March (1963, Restored)
To mark the 50th anniversary of the The March for Jobs and Freedom, the National Archives’ Motion Picture Preservation Lab completed a full digital restoration of James Blue’s monumental 1963 film. The original negatives assembled by James Blue were scanned and three months were spent restoring defects in the image and enhancing the audio track.
For more information please visit the National Archives Media Matters Blog:
Making the March and Protecting Your Past: The Preservation and Restoration of The March
On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of people participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event included performances by Marian Anderson and Bob Dylan, and speeches from John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the March, the National Archives Motion Picture Lab completed a full digital restoration of the James Blue’s 1964 film, The March, produced for the USIA. Using Blue’s original negatives, staff restored defects in the image and enhanced the audio track. The film documents the event from its preparations through Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
You can view the documentary in its entirety on our YouTube Channel: http://ow.ly/ok5Tr
Do you remember the 1963 march, and do you plan on participating in the 50th anniversary celebrations today?
Official Program for the March on Washington
Reblogging by request, as this was one of the few submissions we’ve received so far to our “Suggest your favorite image from the March on Washington" post.
Here’s what Gov-Info had to say:
One of my favorite images is the program: it shows there were two Rabbis on the agenda. What’s widely forgotten is the the March, and the Civil Rights Movement in general, was an interfaith effort…
Do you have a favorite image of the March? There’s still time to suggest your favorite photo from our holdings!
Official Program for the March on Washington
50 years ago on August 28, 1963, more than 250,000 demonstrators descended upon the nation’s capital to participate in the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Not only was it the largest demonstration for human rights in United States history, but it also occasioned a rare display of unity among the various civil rights organizations. The event began with a rally at the Washington Monument featuring several celebrities and musicians. Participants then marched the mile-long National Mall to the Memorial. The three-hour long program at the Lincoln Memorial included speeches from prominent civil rights and religious leaders. The day ended with a meeting between the march leaders and President John F. Kennedy at the White House.
The idea for the 1963 March on Washington was envisioned by A. Philip Randolph, a long-time civil rights activist dedicated to improving the economic condition of black Americans. When Randolph first proposed the march in late 1962, he received little response from other civil rights leaders. He knew that cooperation would be difficult because each had his own agenda for the civil rights movement, and the leaders competed for funding and press coverage. Success of the March on Washington would depend on the involvement of the so-called “Big Six”—Randolph and the heads of the five major civil rights organizations: Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Whitney Young, Jr., of the National Urban League; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); James Farmer of the Conference of Racial Equality (CORE); and John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
The details and organization of the march were handled by Bayard Rustin, Randolph’s trusted associate. Rustin was a veteran activist with extensive experience in putting together mass protest. With only two months to plan, Rustin established his headquarters in Harlem, NY, with a smaller office in Washington. He and his core staff of 200 volunteers quickly put together the largest peaceful demonstration in U.S. history.
The National Archives marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with a featured display of an iconic image from the march, a special program and film screenings of THE MARCH, James Blue’s 1964 film that documents this event.