House Passes “Civil Rights History Project Act”

On September 17, 2008, the House of Representatives passed the “Civil Rights History Project Act” (H.R. 998). The legislation directs the Library of Congress and the National Museum of African American History and Culture to collect video and audio recordings of histories of participants in the Civil Rights movement. The bill would authorize $500,000 in fiscal 2009 to begin the oral history project.

The initial phase of the project would involve surveying existing collections of audio, video and written collections in archives, libraries, museums and other educational institutions. The second phase would be to reproduce and create a collection of the recordings and materials and to catalog and index the collection for public use.

The Librarian of Congress and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution would be encouraged to solicit and accept donations and in-kind contributions to support the project.

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has introduced companion legislation (S. 3511) in the Senate that has yet to see action.

This week the Congress also passed legislation and sent to the President a bill (H.R. 5893) to reauthorize the sound recording and film preservation programs of the Library of Congress.

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