freedom archives

We the People

of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

Constitution of the United States
Series: The Constitution of the United States, 9/17/1787 - 9/17/1787. Record Group 11: General Records of the United States Government, 1778 - 2006

Happy Constitution Day!

(via GIPHY)

The 1990’s - models: Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford - photographer: Peter Lindbergh - fashion editor: Brana Wokf - hair: Christiaan - make-up: Stepanie Marais - British Vogue January 1990

  • featured designer: Giorgio di Sant'Angelo
  • “inspired by George Michael’s Freedom! ‘90 video

Discovering the “Sussex Declaration”

Only two parchment manuscripts of the Declaration of Independence dating back to the 18th century are known in the world. One is held by the National Archives and displayed to the public in the National Archives Rotunda in Washington, DC. The other was recently discovered in Chichester, England, by two Harvard University historians: Danielle Allen, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and colleague Emily Sneff, Research Manager for the Declaration Resources Project. 

Allen and Sneff came across the “Sussex Declaration,” as it has come to be known, in August 2015, while conducting online research of the digitized records collection of the United Kingdom National Archives for Harvard’s Declaration Resource Project. This previously unknown manuscript, dating from the 1780s, is written in the hand of a single clerk. They recently spoke about their discovery at the National Archives in the public program, “Discovering the Sussex Declaration.”

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.


Not only was Muhammad Ali a Heavyweight Boxing Champion, he was also a Minister in the Nation Of Islam under the leadership of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.


In these United States, we’ve used unspeakable systemic violence to create a supremacist culture that has and continues to rob black people of freedom. Here, we don’t need to speak the unspeakable. We see it every single day, all of us. But there are people who fight for power, which is to say agency, which is to say freedom. It takes art and passion and standing up next to each another. The tide-buckers and the oppressed have been for centuries fighting tirelessly for the dignity and equality of their own bodies, lives, loves. The political rhetoric in this fight has lately taken to social media, an outlet wholly democratic for other voices to be heard and social awareness to bloom. 

Forty years ago though, it took place in part on the covers of paperback books. The sale of these books — 99 cents in pharmacies and grocery lines across America — helped shape contemporary discourse and design. Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton’s Black Power can be examined as an example of one such publication.

The original design by Larry Ratzkin is unassuming yet profound: a white field, with the giant words “Black Power” centered in a thick, slab-serifed type. No images, no frills. The efficiency of the cover appears so natural that any other is hard to imagine; the design has come to embody the political moment in the late 1960s when Black people began uniting in their struggle for liberation. Other variations, iterations and representations of the movement and the paperback below, originally on view in the gallery annex at Ace Hotel New York. 

This selection was curated by the Interference Archive — a Gowanus, Brooklyn-based archive exploring the relationship between cultural production and social movements, and working to preserve the history of movements in an environment that allows marginalized communities to shape the way their own history is represented. 


From September 1947 until January 1949, the Declaration of Independence crossed the country in a traveling museum called the Freedom Train.

A group of 27 Marines protected the 133 documents, which came from the US National Archives​, the The Library of Congress​, and private museums and personal collections.

The Freedom Train stopped in cities in each of the 48 states (Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states), and the documents it carried were seen by more than 3.5 million Americans.

True to its name, the Freedom Train mandated that the admission lines for the exhibit were to be desegregated. Memphis, Tennessee, rejected this condition; in response, the Freedom Train did not stop there as scheduled.

After a successful national tour, the Freedom Train arrived in Washington, DC, for President Truman’s Inauguration Week. At the end of the week, the scrolls of 3.5 million names signed under the Freedom Pledge were donated to the Library of Congress.

Learn more about this amazing traveling museum in our Google​ Cultural Institute exhibit.

Freedom Through Blood

Warnings for: mild abuse, misgendering, and death

Long story short: How Head Ashiok and Fang Sinnafein met, and a glimpse into the kind of life Sinnafein had before she ended up staying in the Zekarian Empire. 

(This turned out way longer than I expected it to, holy crap. |D If you’d like to be pinged for future lore posts, feel free to let me know! ♥) @frxemriss @webwingalpha

Flying ships weren’t uncommon visitors to the Zekarian Empire, but word quickly traveled from the Eyes to the Emperor that this one in particular belonged to pirates. Its black sails were a dead giveaway, and the noisy rumbling from the mechanical engines keeping it running did little to divert attention from it.

“Hurry and fetch the supplies we need, boy!”

The young Skydancer flinched at the Ridgeback’s bellowing voice, crest pinning against her head as she quickly hurried away from the docks. She hated when Captain Rilath called her that, but she wasn’t about to out herself to him. Not with how he treated the other women on the ship that he had claimed as “his.” Her nose wrinkled at the thought, and she shook her head to clear it before turning her attention to the large map that was stationed not far from the docks. There were pathways and markers on it to show where to go for what sort of shops. Glimmerwood was huge, she noted, glancing at the list she had been given. Picking what she hoped would be the only stop she would need to make, she began to make her way through the busy street. The market district was absolutely buzzing with activity, and it was hard to keep from brushing shoulders with a few of the dragons she passed.

It wasn’t long before she found her destination–a general store called The Wandering Mith. Taking a breath, she pushed a loose lock of her red hair behind one ear. It barely reached her neck, and she loathed the fact that Rilath had forced her to cut it the last time she let it grow past her shoulders. The Ridgeback had a thing about wanting to be the only male on the ship with long hair. Something to do with “looking best.” She rolled her sea blue eyes and shook her head again, then pushed open the door to the shop. A small bell rang as she did so, and the Tundra standing behind the main counter looked over, greeting her with a large smile.

“Greetings, friend! Come in, come in!” The woman walked around to the front to greet the Skydancer, her hands clasped in front of her. “I am Kriva. How may I help you?”

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Constitution of the United States

Item From: General Records of the United States Government. (05/14/1787- 09/17/1787)

The Federal Convention convened on May 14, 1787 in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to revise the problematic Articles of Confederation. Since only two states had delegations present, any substantive debate was postponed until a quorum of seven states was attained on May 25th. After exhaustive deliberation well into the middle of June, the Convention concluded that the Articles were not salvageable and needed to be replaced with something that represented their collective interests while ensuring their continued independence.

Through subsequent closed sessions, the delegates continually debated, drafted and redrafted the articles of this new Constitution until it resembled the one we have today. The main points of contention were how much power was apportioned to the Federal Government, how many Congressional representatives were allotted to each state, and whether these representatives would be directly elected by their constituents or appointed by their state legislatures.

This new Constitution was the cumulative result of many minds coming together to conceptualize and debate the future course of the country. Through subsequent generations it has been amended and reinterpreted many times, but its continued success stems from adherence to these early promises of representation and compromise.


Freedom Archives: Cointelpro 101

External image

COINTELPRO 101 exposes illegal surveillance, disruption, and outright murder committed by the U.S. government in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. “"Cointelpro”“ refers to the official FBI COunter INTELligence PROgram carried out to surveil, imprison, and eliminate leaders of social justice movements and to disrupt, divide, and destroy the movements as well. Many of the government’s crimes are still unknown. Through interviews with activists who experienced these abuses first-hand and with rare historical footage, the film provides an educational introduction to a period of intense repression and draws relevant lessons for present and future movements. Interviews in the video include: Muhammad Ahmad,Bob Boyle, Kathleen Cleaver,Ward Churchill, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Priscilla Falcon, Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt, Jose Lopez, Francisco ‘Kiko’ Martinez, Lucy Rodriguez, Ricardo Romero, Akinyele Umoja, and Laura Whitehorn.


Learn about the Conservation and Re-encasement of the Declaration of Independence (and solve an Independence Day Mystery!)

via preservearchives

Kitty Nicholson, retired Supervisory Conservator at the National Archives, details the conservation of the Declaration of Independence and shares a small mystery in an exclusive video on the National Archives YouTube Channel

Watch the following video and see if you can help solve the mystery!

Happy Independence Day!


George Jackson - 41 year commemoration from Freedom Archives


“Freedom March” [Protestors for fair housing and job opportunities]
War Memorial Plaza, Baltimore, Maryland
Robert F. Kniesche (1906-1976)
2 1/4 x 2 1/4 inch negative
Kniesche Collection
Maryland Historical Society


Happy 227th #ConstitutionDay!

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Learn more about the U.S. Constitution through programs, and resources from the National Archives:

Have you ever been to the usnatarchives to see the Constitution in person?  

Bonus question - have you ever slept over in the same room as the Constitution?