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Agency to Host National Traveling Exhibition of 1961 Freedom Riders at James R. Thompson Center

CHICAGO, IL –  The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) is commemorating the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act with a proclamation from Governor Pat Quinn, and with local dignitaries who worked in the Civil Rights Movement at 10AM, Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at the James R. Thompson Center – 50 years to the date that the historic legislation was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. IDHR also will unveil the Freedom Riders national traveling exhibit.

The event is free and open to the public. Speakers include IDHR Director Rocco J. Claps, local civil rights leaders, DuSable Museum of African-American History President and CEO Carol Adams, and Thomas Armstrong of Naperville, a Freedom Rider who made the courageous journey on interstate buses with other activists through the segregated south in the summer of 1961.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, enacted on July 2, 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and in public accommodations. The Freedom Riders exhibition looks at six months in 1961 when more than 400 courageous Americans — old and young, black and white, men and women, Northern and Southern — risked their lives to challenge segregated facilities in the South. The exhibition will be on display at the Thompson Center until July 11, 2014.

IDHR conducts outreach and educational activities to underscore its efforts to combat discrimination in Illinois.  The Illinois Human Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age (40 and over), marital status, physical, mental or perceived disability, military status, familial status, sexual orientation (including gender identity) or unfavorable military discharge.

WHAT:  Illinois Department of Human Rights Commemorates 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act & unveils Freedom Riders exhibition

WHEN:    10A.M., Wednesday, July 2, 2014

WHERE:  James R. Thompson Center

100 W. Randolph St., Atrium Level

Chicago, IL. 60601

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