August 13, 2014 New Teacher Resource Announced on the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Contact: View the exhibition online.
Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 transformed American society, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It also laid the groundwork for lasting debates about the nature of citizenship, the powers and responsibilities of government and the obligations of Americans to each other.

This far-reaching act, the conditions that led to it and its decades-long legacy are the subjects of a powerful new teaching resource from the Library of Congress and HISTORY®, part of the Idea Book For Educators series titled “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.” The complete book is available online at and at External.

Inspired by the upcoming Library of Congress exhibition of the same name, the Idea Book presents dozens of unique primary sources from the Library’s collections that illuminate the unjust laws and practices that preceded the act, coupled with teaching ideas that allow educators to prompt critical analysis and informed debate by their students.

In addition to photographs, posters and pamphlets that can immerse students in the world of the 1950s and 1960s, the Idea Book also features suggestions related to oral histories and provides links to oral-history interviews of leaders and activists. The interviews are part of the Library’s American Folklife Center’s Civil Rights History Project.

“We were very excited to work with HISTORY on this project,” said Lee Ann Potter, director of Educational Outreach at the Library of Congress. “Providing teachers with rich primary-source materials to engage their students is an objective that both of our organizations share.”

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” exhibition at the Library of Congress opens Sept. 10 and closes Sept. 12, 2015. Located in the Southwest Gallery on the second level of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., the exhibition is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will feature more than 200 items, including correspondence and documents from civil-rights leaders and organizations, photographs, newspapers, legal briefs, drawings and posters, as well as audio-visual stations throughout the gallery. In addition, there will be two films co-produced by the Library and HISTORY.

The exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, with additional support from HISTORY for both audio-visual and educational content and outreach.

“HISTORY is honored to join with the Library of Congress in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” said Libby O’Connell, chief historian and senior vice president of Corporate Outreach for HISTORY. “These resources will help a new generation of student understand the importance of the Civil Rights Movement and the legacy of this landmark legislation.”

HISTORY, now reaching more than 98 million homes, is the leading destination for award-winning original series and specials that connect viewers with history in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across all platforms. The HISTORY website is a leading online resource for all things history. For more press information, visit External.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


PR 14-142
ISSN 0731-3527