Civil Rights Act of 1964

Lincoln Home National Historic Site and Old State Capitol State Historic Site

Commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

June 5 through July 2, 2014

 
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Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois attended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 anniversary program that featured presentations by actors Jim Lucas portraying Martin Luther King Jr., and Fritz Klein portraying Abraham Lincoln at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site.

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Lincoln Home National Historic Site presented the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Anniversary series in partnership with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Image courtesy of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

In June and July 2014, Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Old State Capitol State Historic Site partnered to present a series of five programs honoring the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The first program took place on June 5, 2014, with a new program presented every week. The final program took place on July 2, the 50th anniversary date of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 
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Civil Rights Act of 1964 panel discussion panelists, from left to right, David Joens, Matthew Holden, Jr., Angela Winand, and moderator Samuel P. Wheeler at Lincoln Home National Historic Site. 

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On June 5, Lincoln Home National Historic Site hosted a panel discussion of highly regarded scholars from a variety of academic specialties who brought their perspectives on the importance of the Civil Rights act and its connections to the earlier Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Panelists included Matthew Holden, Jr., the Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Illinois Springfield, and author of The White Man's Burden; David Joens, Director of the Illinois State Archives and author of From Slave to State Legislator: John W. E. Thomas, Illinois' First African American Legislator; and, Angela Winand, Curatorial Assistant at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum who is also working on a study of representations of race and gender in the virtual world of Second Life. Samuel P. Wheeler, Historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, served as moderator.

Select this link to view the panel discussion.


 
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Professor Yohuru Williams presenting "In the Shadow of Lincoln: The Civil War and the Long Civil Rights Movement" at Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

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On June 12, Lincoln Home National Historic Site hosted acclaimed Civil Rights scholar and author Yohuru Williams who presented "In the Shadow of Lincoln: The Civil War and the Long Civil Rights Movement." Dr. Williams is the History Department Chair and the Director of Black Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut and is also Chief Historian for the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Museum in New York, New York. Professor Williams is the author of Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power, Black Panthers in New Haven; and, Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook: Six Investigative Strategies, Grades 5-12. Dr. Williams is also a founder of Yohuru Williams & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in strategic research, dynamic support and tactical assistance for non-profit, for-profit and educational organizations.

Select this link to view Professor William's presentation.


 
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Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois met with Professor Yohuru Williams following his June 12, 2014, presentation at Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

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Acclaimed author Clay Risen responds to questions from the audience following his presentation at Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

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On June 19, Lincoln Home National Historic Site hosted author Clay Risen. Mr. Risen is the author of the recently published and acclaimed The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act. He is also an editor at The New York Times op-ed section. Prior to that Mr. Risen was an assistant editor at The New Republic and the founding managing editor of the noted quarterly Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. His recent freelance work has appeared in such journals as The Atlantic, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post. Mr. Risen is also the author of A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination and American Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to the Nation's Favorite Spirit.

Select this link to view Mr. Risen's presentation.

 
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Actors Jim Lucas, left, and Fritz Klein respond to visitor questions following their individual portrayals of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site.

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On June 26, the Old State Capitol State Historic Site was the venue for a dramatic portrayal of the Civil War to Civil Rights struggle as actors presented the story of freedom through the perspectives of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Acclaimed Lincoln actor Fritz Klein portrayed Abraham Lincoln and told the story of the struggle to bring freedom to a nation torn apart by Civil War. Celebrated King actor Jim Lucas picked up the drama as he presented a powerful portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and conveyed King's dedication to continue the nation's fight for freedom through the powerful words of King's speeches.

Select this link to view the presentations by Mr. Klein and Mr. Lucas.

 
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James A. Lewis who reflected on his work as a Civil Rights lawyer in Mississippi in the 1960s at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site.

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On July 2, the 50th anniversary date of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Old State Capitol State Historic Site hosted a special program that commemorated the historic legislation. A variety of special guests and dignitaries reflected on the landmark legislation. Special guests included NAACP Springfield Branch President Teresa Haley, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and United States Attorney James A. Lewis who reflected on his work as a Civil Rights lawyer in Mississippi in the 1960s. The program also included musical presentations by members of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Choir, who performed Amazing Grace; The Lincoln Troubadours who performed Battle Hymn of the Republic; and, Debbie Ross who sang, Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come.

Select this link to view the special commemorative program.


 
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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn presents NAACP Springfield Branch President Teresa Haley with a state proclamation declaring July 2, 2014, "Civil Rights Act Day" at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site.

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Members of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Choir who perform "Amazing Grace" at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site.

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Last updated: March 5, 2017

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