Changing America


We March, We Demand, Library of Congress (left) President Lyndon B. Johnson Signs the Civil Rights Act, July 2, 1964, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (center) Participants at the March on Washington, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (right)

The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington were pivotal events in the advancement of civil rights and were the products of grassroots activism.  Metropolitan State University is proud to host Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963, a Smithsonian exhibit looking at key figures and aspects of life before and after these historical groundbreaking events. It has been just over 150 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and just over 50 years since the March on Washington.

The exhibit will run September 21st through November 4th on the 1st floor of the Metro State Library and Learning Center. Join us for the Opening Reception on September 29th from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm in the Susan A. Cole Lounge followed by keynote presentations from William P. Jones, Professor of History, University of MN, and Petronella J. Ytsma, Photographer and Community Faculty, Metropolitan State University, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm in Library 302.

Metro State is the only location in the state of Minnesota to host this exhibit.

Trained docents will be available to lead exhibit tours and will be on-site for limited time periods during regular exhibit hours. For more information or to schedule a docent-led tour for your group, please contact

Activities related to Changing America include a Resource Adventure and the award of our first Digital Storytelling Prize, a contest for current Metropolitan State students. The Prize winner will receive a $500 gift card to, plus two honorable mentions will receive $100 gift cards to the university bookstore. Winning entries will be showcased at the exhibit’s closing event on November 4.

The Resource Adventure is an activity for all ages which encourages individuals to engage with the exhibit & the library.  Find a copy of it here or ask a library staffer for one.

More information about the Changing America exhibit, related events, and learning resources can be found at

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Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963 is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaborations with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is part of the NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, “Created Equal: American’s Civil Rights Struggle,” which brings four outstanding films on the civil rights movement to communities across the United States (see “Created Equal” encourages communities across the country to revisit and reflect on the long history of civil rights in America.

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