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Civil Rights and Suffrage History Encircle the National Museum of American History’s Building

First and Nineteenth Amendments to the Constitution to be Highlighted
August 26, 2020

WHAT:          Photo Opportunity: Voting and Civil Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer’s

                      image and quote on the museum’s Constitution Ave. façade will herald an

                      outdoor display of inspirational Civil Rights quotes around the building. In

                      the evenings, the suffrage colors of purple and gold will illuminate the 

                      museum in honor of the 19th Amendment. 

WHEN:          Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 27th through Sept. 30 

WHERE:       Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History 

                      Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive, between 12th and 14th streets

                      N.W. 

WHO:            Experts available for telephone/video interviews:

                       Anthea M. Hartig, Elizabeth MacMillan Director, National Museum of

                      American History 

                       Felicia Bell, Senior Advisor, National Museum of American History

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will debut an outdoor display, “For the Love of Freedom: An Inspirational Sampler” with the Hamer banners and Civil Rights quotes Aug. 27 centered on the rights granted by the First Amendment. Risking her life for the right to vote, Hamer’s work helped transform the South and the U.S. Hamer’s image and “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free,” in both English and Spanish will be featured across two banners. Eight additional bilingual quotes will be on sidewalk pylons. Quotes from Ella Baker, Shirley Chisolm, Dolores Huerta, John Lewis, Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin, Mamie Till and Ida B. Wells will showcase protest as a fundamental part of American democracy. The public may digitally access additional content including artifacts, archives, and audio recordings along with a just-released blog series, “Black Life in Two Pandemics: Histories of Violence” focused on the Midwest and how the past has shaped the moment we are in, following the death of George Floyd and others.  

The museum’s building with be up lit in the purple and gold colors of women’s suffrage to mark the Centennial of the 19th Amendment which prohibits the denial of the vote on the basis of gender. 

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