Friday, December 20, 2013
Visit the Rubenstein Gallery's "Records of Rights" at the National Archives
Yesterday I visited the David M. Rubenstein Gallery and its Records of Rights at the National Archives in Washington DC.
No photography is allowed inside the Archives, but practically every poster or visual element is available online, here. The material is public domain and can easily be photographed from the web.
The gallery presents the same history of civil rights available at the Newseum and at the Smithsonian (which will house an African-American history museum starting in 2015). There are photographs from the Birmingham incidents, the Selma march, and the March on Washington. In the early 1960s, Alabama seems to have been the very worst state with respect to segregation, with Mississippi not far behind, and perhaps also Arkansas.
There is also a large collection of documents, going back to the Magna Carta, but tracing the course of discriminatory laws often used against minorities and immigrants until after the Civil Rights movement.
Some of the items receiving particular detail are the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment, the unratified Equal Rights Amendment for women (and the arguments that were used against it), the deed for the gift of the Statue of Liberty, and the Chinese Exclusion Act.
I covered on the LGBT blog yesterday the documents on the rights to privacy and sexuality.