National Archives at Philadelphia

Press Releases

Nationally Touring National Archives Exhibit, Documented Rights Part I, to Open May 25, 2011 with Harold Jordan

Philadelphia, PA - May 18, 2011


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Community Organizer Harold Jordon will provide commentary at the opening of the National Archives at Philadelphia's new exhibit, Documented Rights Part I.

This exhibition features records that tell the story of America's ongoing national dialogue to define civil rights, beginning with the writing of the Constitution and continuing to the present day. Through never-before-displayed records from the National Archives Public Vaults, the exhibit highlights many unfamiliar-yet groundbreaking-events that contributed to the American civil rights dialogue.

The opening event will also include an opportunity for attendees to speak to National Archives staff about the documents on display.

Documents are drawn from the National Archives' nationwide holdings, and include:

  • Petition to the U.S. Congress for women's suffrage, signed by Frederick Douglass, Jr. (1877).
  • Court records chronicling Wong Kim Ark's citizenship odyssey in the face of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1890s).
  • Paul Diabo's use of the Jay Treaty (ratified in 1794) to protect his right as an American Indian to travel between the USA and Canada (1928).
  • Court martial order for Second Lieutenant Jackie Robinson, for refusing to move to the back of a military bus (1944).
  • Arrest warrant for Richard Loving, for violating Virginia's anti-miscegenation law (1958).
  • Lenny Bruce's handwritten conviction appeal request (1966).


Harold Jordan joined the ACLU staff in December of 2007. His advocacy work at the ACLU focuses on educating the public about voting rights, including the rights of students and families in public schools. He edited the ACLU publication, Know Your Rights: A Handbook for Public School Students in Pennsylvania. Jordan is a child of the Civil Rights Movement in the South - his parents were leaders, and he went through two rounds of school desegregation struggles, in 1967 and again in 1971. He holds a degree in Social Thought and Analysis from Washington University in St. Louis.


National Archives at Philadelphia. Entrance on Chestnut, between 9th and 10th Streets.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. The program and exhibit are free, but with limited seating. Reservations are being accepted at or 215-305-2044.


Part I of Documented Rights covers the late 19th century through the 1960s. Part II, arriving in Spring 2012, covers the early republic through the Civil War and Reconstruction.

A Web version of Documented Rights is available:

The National Archives at Philadelphia is one of 13 regional archives, from Anchorage to Atlanta, from Boston to Seattle, that comprise the National Archives' nationwide network. Philadelphia preserves and makes available approximately 180 million permanent records of the federal courts and agencies with offices in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The National Archives is our nation's official record keeper, holding the permanent records that document the rights and entitlements of Americans and our national heritage, beginning with the Declaration of Independence.

Free and Open to the Public:
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Second Saturday of Every Month, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292


Leslie Simon, Director of Archival Operations, 215-606-0101 or