Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today approved the House version of legislation sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would create a Civil Rights Oral History Project, a joint effort between the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress, to collect oral histories of those involved in the Civil Rights Movement and preserve them for future generations.

“Our society today would not be possible without the extraordinary people who dedicated themselves to the Civil Rights Movement,” Senator Feinstein said. “These courageous individuals risked their lives to bring real and necessary change to our country. This bill will help ensure that we never forget their stories.”

The Senate legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn); Thad Cochran (R-Miss.); Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.); Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Bob Bennett (R-Utah); Chris Dodd (D-Conn.); and Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

The House version is sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

The bill would direct the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to record – in audio and video -- firsthand stories from the Civil Rights Movement.

The legislation now heads to President Obama for his signature.

The Civil Rights Oral History Project is similar to the Veterans History Project, which was started by the Library of Congress in 2000 to collect and preserve the remembrances of American war veterans and the civilian workers who supported them.