National Archives Celebrates New St. Louis Facility with Documented Rights Exhibit
Press Release · Monday, September 26, 2011

Exhibit at new National Personnel Records Center illustrates struggle for civil rights

Washington, DC…The National Archives and Records Administration celebrates the opening of its new facility, the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, with Documented Rights, a special exhibition illustrating this nation’s continuing process of defining human and civil rights. Documented Rights opens Monday, October 3, 2011, and runs through March 2, 2012. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The official dedication of this facility will take place Saturday, October 15, 2011, at 10 a.m. This ceremony is open to invited guests and the press.

Using facsimiles of milestone documents drawn from the National Archives holdings nationwide, the new exhibition focuses on this nation’s struggle for human and civil rights. Documented Rights kicks off the dedication of the newly built National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. The public is invited to visit the exhibit, see the new building, and learn about the wealth of National Archives holdings both locally and nationwide.

Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, citizen rights in the United States have been debated, contested, amended, and documented. The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, established basic civil rights. Subsequent amendments and court decisions have continued the process of defining these rights.

Documents in the National Archives give voice to this struggle for personal rights and freedoms. From the Emancipation Proclamation to the five cases that comprised Brown v. Board of Education, Documented Rights features a sampling of documents from all regions of the National Archives. Exhibit highlights include:

  • Holding The Line - a special section appearing exclusively in St. Louis that features documents from the St. Louis holdings, including letters and telegrams pertaining to James Meredith’s dramatic attempts to integrate the University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”);

  • Examples of efforts waged by Native American organizations in the fight for Indian rights;

  • A glimpse into the 1940s treatment of Japanese Americans by the War Relocation Authority;

  • A court martial order for 2nd Lt. Jackie Robinson who refused to move to the back