December 22, 2015 Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Bay Psalm Book Exhibitions Close on Jan. 2

Two Sections of Civil Rights Act Exhibit Will Stay on View in Facsimile Form Through 2016

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Carroll Johnson-Welsh (202) 707-9070, Kimberli Curry (202) 707-3822
Contact: View the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exhibition online. | View the Bay Psalm Book exhibition online.

Twelve days remain to view the Library of Congress exhibitions “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” and “First Among Many: The Bay Psalm Book and Early Moments in American Printing.” Both exhibitions close at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2.

Two sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exhibition will remain on view, displaying facsimile copies, until Dec. 30, 2016. The sections explain the passage of the act and its immediate impact. Also, nearly 50 historical film clips will be added to the online version of the exhibition in late February 2016.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” looks at events that shaped the civil rights movement, the challenges and victories leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and the far-reaching impact of the act on a changing society. Featured are more than 200 items, including correspondence and documents from civil-rights leaders and organizations, photographs, newspapers, legal briefs, drawings, posters and audio-visual clips.

“First Among Many: The Bay Psalm Book and Early Moments in American Printing” tells the story of American printing as it evolved from a colonial necessity to the clarion of freedom. The highlight of the exhibition is the Bay Psalm Book, the first book to be printed (1640) in what is now the United States. “First Among Many” also features iconic treasures that represent the launching of an approach to publication particular to the American press.

The exhibitions are located in the Southwest Gallery (Civil Rights) and South Gallery (Bay Psalm) on the second level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. They are free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The Library of Congress is closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

In the Civil Rights Act exhibition, the section about legislation, which will remain on display in facsimile form throughout 2016, spans the period from Jan. 1 to July 2, 1964. It covers the passage of the bill in the House, its debate and passage in the Senate, and President Johnson’s signing of the bill into law on July 2, 1964. Highlights include film footage of the debate about a key speech by President John F. Kennedy among black leaders, including Malcolm X; a televised debate on the bill between U.S. Sens. Hubert Humphrey and Strom Thurmond; sketch artist Howard Brodie’s drawings for CBS news; and President Johnson’s draft of the remarks delivered when he signed the bill. The section is organized around a series of letters of Clarence Mitchell, director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau, who wrote to NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins, chronicling the debate in the Senate.

The immediate-impact section of the Civil Rights Act exhibition examines initial efforts to implement the act and resistance to compliance. In particular, the section highlights Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 1964, in which the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the public accommodations section (Title II) of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It also looks at the shortcomings of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from the perspective of many civil-rights activists and how further grassroots mobilization, judicial precedent, and legislative action were needed to further expand civil-rights protection. Topics include the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the presidential election of 1964, the Selma-to-Montgomery March, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom” was made possible by a generous grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, with additional support from HISTORY® for both audio-visual content and educational outreach.

“First Among Many: The Bay Psalm Book and Early Moments in American Printing” was made possible through the generous support of David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s first-established federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 160 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 15-222
ISSN 0731-3527