Cornerstones of Civil Rights

"Cornerstones of Civil Rights" was an examinatioin of the American promise that “all men are created equal.” Through the landmark civil rights legislation passed during the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Baines Johnson, these two men will be forever linked as partners “on the road to equal rights.” This exhibition included six pages of historic documents, including a printed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln; a copy of the Senate resolution, signed by President Lincoln proposing the 13th Amendment which ended slavery; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed by President Johnson. Also included was one of the three surviving “stovepipe” hats worn by Lincoln during his White House years. The exhibit was displayed in the Great Hall of the LBJ Presidential Library from April 1 – April 30, 2014.

View a brief video that chronicles the installation of this historic exhibit:

Soundtrack: Acapella performance of the American Negro Spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” recorded by a group called The Southern Four, in December of 1921.

Then & Now

Did You Know…

According to Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, “Hats were important to Lincoln: They protected him against inclement weather, served as storage bins for important papers he stuck inside their lining, and further accentuated his great height advantage over other men.” Learn more about why the stovepipe hat became Lincoln's trademark here.

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