About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for the screening of The Best of Enemies

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
April 1, 2019 


Good evening, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for tonight’s special preview screening and discussion of The Best of Enemies, presented in partnership with the One Woman, One Vote Festival 2020.

Before we start the film, I’d like to let you know about two other programs coming up later this month here at the McGowan Theater.

On Friday, April 5, at noon, Susan Page will be here to discuss and sign her latest book, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, in which Page traces Barbara Bush’s life from childhood to becoming America’s First Lady.

And on Tuesday, April 16 at 7 p.m., a panel of historians will discuss the Emancipation Proclamation and the Washington, DC, Compensated Emancipation Act, which will both be on special display that night between 6 and 6:45 p.m. in the Rotunda Galleries. The two original documents will also be displayed April 14th through 16th during regular visiting hours.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

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As I mentioned at the start, this screening is being presented in partnership with the One Woman, One Vote Festival 2020, which is a collaboration of national organizations and cultural institutions to present films, concerts, exhibitions, and public events leading into the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Here at the National Archives, we will be observing the centennial in many ways over the next couple of years. In just one month, on May 10, we will open a major exhibit called Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote upstairs in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery. Rightfully Hers uses National Archives records to tell the story of women’s struggle for voting rights as a critical step toward equal citizenship. The exhibit is organized around five questions:

●        Who decides who votes?

●        Why did women fight for the vote?

●        How did women win the vote?

●        What was the immediate impact of the 19th Amendment? and

●        What voting rights struggles persist after the 19th Amendment?

The 19th Amendment is rightly celebrated as a major milestone, yet it is just one critical piece of the larger story of women’s battle for the vote. Rightfully Hers and a companion traveling exhibit, One Half of the People, will explore how American women across the spectra of race, ethnicity, and class advanced the cause of suffrage.

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And now it’s my pleasure to introduce our special guest, the Honorable G. K. Butterfield, who will introduce tonight’s film.

Congressman G. K. Butterfield is a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina and worked tirelessly in the civil rights movement as a young adult. After earning his law degree, Congressman Butterfield founded a law practice in his hometown of Wilson and served the community in that capacity for 13 years. He is best known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases that resulted in the election of African American elected officials throughout eastern North Carolina. In 1988, Congressman Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court Judge. In this role, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina. For two years, he served on the North Carolina Supreme Court by appointment of the Governor. Butterfield retired from the judiciary after 15 years of service and successfully ran for Congress. In a special election on July 20, 2004, he was elected to serve the First District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he continues to serve today.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Congressman Butterfield.