Obama Signs Law for Civil Rights Project

Historic period to be documented via video, audio

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President Barack Obama signs the bill into law. From left: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL); Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA); Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO); Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). (Source: White House)

President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday a bill that requires the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution to establish an oral history project related to the Civil Rights movement.

H.R. 586 was introduced into the House by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) in January 2009, and was passed by both the House in April. A Senate bill also won approval last month.

Specifically, the oral history project will collect video and audio recordings of personal histories and testimonials of individuals who participated in the Civil Rights movement and for other purposes.

The law also encourages the Library of Congress and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, an arm of the Smithsonian, to solicit, and accept related donations of funds and in-kind contributions.

The new law authorizes the appropriation of $500,000 for fiscal year 2010 and “such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2011 through 2014,” according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO estimates that the oral history project will cost $4 million over the 2010-2014 period.

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