Statement by Assistant Attorney General Ralph E. Odum at U.S. Senate Hearing Concerning Constitutionality of Civil Rights Laws: The History of the Legislation that Proved this Statement Wrong

Authored by Aleah Parsons

This document is a statement made by Assistant Attorney General of Florida Ralph E. Odum at a Senate Hearing discussing the constitutionality of civil rights legislation. A large part of the discussed legislation were laws that would allow the federal government to force school integration.

On May 14, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in the court case Brown v. Board of Education that segregation within schools was unconstitutional according to the 14th amendment (United States Courts, n.d.).

After much discussion with all the United States Attorney Generals, it was determined by the Supreme court that school desegregation was to be administered by federal state district courts and that it was to begin immediately following the court’s ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education Topeka court case (Tomberlin 1974 ; United States Courts, n.d., under “Brown v. Board of Education (1954-1955).

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Coretta Scott King: An Unyielding Voice for Change

Authored by Elliot Clement

After receiving an honorary doctorate from Marymount Manhattan College, Coretta Scott King sent this letter to Sister Colette Mahoney at the college. This event took place a little over a year after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

Coretta Scott King devoted “a lifetime to raising public consciousness around issues related to human rights and social justice,” and although many know her primarily through her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr., she was a powerful force for change in her own right (Crawford 2007, 116). She earned numerous accolades and over sixty honorary doctorates, including one from Marymount Manhattan College, during her lifetime, but her story is still often overshadowed by her husband’s (Suggs 2006). Her own dedication to social justice arose when she was not allowed to student teach in the Ohio public schools, because despite the fact that the students were integrated, the faculty remained all white (Crawford 2007). It was this instance that spurred King into a life dedicated to social justice, both with and without her husband.

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The Freedom Train

Authored by Candyce Valor

Taken during the Freedom Train Tour October 19, 1948, this photo illustrates anticipation to explore the traveling archival exhibit visiting their small community in Red Bank, NJ. The Freedom Train traveled from September 1947 to January 22, 1949 through many cities in 48 states to provide all people in the community the chance to view historical documents and artifacts.

The journey of the Freedom Train Tour started in Philadelphia on September 17, 1947, on the 160th signing anniversary of the United States Constitution. The seven-car train traveled thirty-seven thousand miles utilizing 52 different railroads with Presidential priority across the United States (Wines, n.d.). The initial tour consisted of 326 city stops (Wines, n.d.). The goal of the Freedom Train Tour was to bring historical documents to those not able to visit the National Archive in Washington DC. The funding for the Freedom Train could not be generated from Congress. The American Heritage Foundation was founded to garner financial and infrastructure support of the Freedom Tour (Wines, n.d.).

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Dr. King and Selma: A limited View

Authored by Emily Lacey

Images of microfilm from the Staten Island Advance article on Dr. Kings arrest in Selma 2/1/1965.

Article written by unsourced author from the Staten Island Advances February 1, 1965 issue on Dr. King and his arrest in Selma, Alabama


Microfilm was never something I had given any thought to throughout my research endeavors. So, when the opportunity arose to learn how to use it, and work with a collection of it, I was interested. Microfilm is interesting, in that during its prime it was an innovative way to house a large amount of materials. The New Dorp Library has an extensive collection of microfilm, every newspaper edition from the Staten Island Advance from 1964- 2008 is housed in filing cabinets, and reels of film for public use. The front page of a February 1, 1965 paper stood out to me, not because of the headline article, but because to the left with two small column was an article on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being arrested in Selma. This little article, along with a follow up equally as short on page 9 was what the paper had representing this historic time.

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