Project Showcase: The Great Society Congress

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Screenshot by Danielle Emerling

Image credit: Screenshot by Danielle Emerling

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson remarked: “When the historians of tomorrow write of today, they will say of the 89th Congress … ‘This was the great Congress.’” The president was elated that between January 1965 and December 1966, the 89th US Congress had enacted the most extensive legislative program since the New Deal. The Voting Rights Act, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and amendments to the Social Security Act, which resulted in the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, were but a few of the transformative pieces of legislation passed as cornerstones of Johnson’s Great Society agenda.

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the 89th Congress, the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC) launched a collaborative digital exhibition in April 2015. Using images, press releases, personal correspondence, and other materials from ACSC member institutions, “The Great Society Congress” exhibit explores the central role that the 89th Congress played in constructing the Great Society and reveals how some of the most significant pieces of legislation in American history were debated and shaped.

The exhibit draws on materials from archival collections held by more than a dozen ACSC member institutions, and exhibit content will be updated throughout 2015-2016. In these ways, it represents a new approach to developing and publishing digital congressional history.

The University of Delaware Library is hosting this multi-institutional exhibit, and Omeka provided the platform for this collaboration.

We invite you to visit the exhibit often to learn more about the “The Great Society Congress.”

~ Danielle Emerling is Assistant Librarian at the University of Delaware Library, Manuscripts and Archives Department.

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