Monday, January 15, 2007

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Records available On-Line

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Thurgood Marshall Law Library at the University of Maryland announce a joint project to make records of the Civil Rights Commission available on-line. The press release, below, refers to the Civil Rights Act (presumably meaning the Civil Rights Act of 1964), but of more value to researchers will be Commission reports, such as a 1961 report on voting rights, available here. While these documents should be available in libraries that are government document repositories, the website will make them much more accessible to a broader range of researchers. Some briefing papers are included, but the collection principally consists of published reports. Some materials are in Spanish. The Commission was established in 1957. The materials appear to range from the early 1960s to at least 2004.

Access to the collection is through the Library's helpful website, which includes links to works on the history of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Click here. The Press Release follows:
WASHINGTON-As the Nation pauses to remember the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) teams up with the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) and the Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland School of Law, to provide the American public a website of authentic Civil Rights historical publications.
"GPO is honored to be participating in this project," said Judith Russell,Superintendent of Documents. "This is an example of GPO's mission to improve service to the public and assure permanent access to digital collections."
The Thurgood Marshall Law Library, which is a GPO Federal Depository Library, has been scanning hundreds of historical Civil Rights publications to make this digital collection possible. These documents are provided by USCCR. With a couple strokes of the keyboard, Americans can access Civil Rights documents such as The Civil Rights Act. These documents are accessible at: <>
"The Commission has continued to play a vital part in the efforts to combat discrimination in America. By providing access to the historical record of this important federal agency, the Thurgood Marshall Law Library will offer the public an opportunity to examine the efforts of the Commission more closely, while aiding the Commission in its role as a clearinghouse for information about civil rights," said Kenneth L. Marcus, United States Commission on Civil Rights.