National traveling exhibit on history of 14th Amendment opens to the public May 18

May 15, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A national traveling exhibit highlighting the history of African Americans’ quest for equality under American law will open at Nashville’s downtown public library May 18.

An 800-square-foot, paneled exhibit, “Marching Toward Justice, The History of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” features photographs, drawings and reproductions of documents. The exhibit covers a series of events, from slavery and black soldiers in the Civil War to the Emancipation Proclamation and the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868.

The exhibit’s stop in Nashville is a cooperative effort of Vanderbilt University and Nashville Public Libraries in conjunction with Wayne State University in Detroit. Currently, Nashville is the only scheduled stop for the exhibit in Tennessee.

“A number of Tennesseans and Nashvillians have played an important role in fighting for equal rights for African Americans in this country, and we are pleased to be a part of bringing this wonderful documentation of that struggle to the city,” said David Williams, vice chancellor for student life and general counsel at Vanderbilt.

“Marching Toward Justice” is the first major outreach project of the Damon J. Keith Law Collection of African-American Legal History at Wayne State University. The Keith Collection is designed to be a central repository for the nation’s African-American legal history and is named for Damon J. Keith, senior judge of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Keith made the founding contribution of papers and records for the collection.

“We’ve been able to partner with Vanderbilt to offer a number of learning opportunities downtown, and I am particularly pleased about presenting this exhibit which chronicles not only an important part of African-American history, but of American history as well,” said Donna Nicely, Nashville Public Libraries director.

The exhibit, which opened in 1999 with a ceremony including President Bill Clinton and Mrs. Thurgood Marshall, has been touring the country and was most recently displayed in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

“The collection is a tremendous educational vehicle in keeping with Wayne State’s objectives as an urban university with a global educational mission,” said Lawrence Mann, Wayne State University law professor and director of the Keith Collection.

The exhibit will remain on display at the downtown public library until Sept. 16.

Local supporters of the exhibit include Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, The Nashville School of Law, Nashville Bar Association/Nashville Bar Foundation, Porter-Walker LLC and Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis.

”Marching Toward Justice’s” national tour has been made possible by a donation from General Motors Corporation.

Contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-NEWS

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