Item #17777 Freedom Train Large Banner. African American, CIVIL RIGHTS.
Freedom Train Large Banner

Freedom Train Large Banner


[CIVIL RIGHTS]. "Heritage Week / Sprit of '76". American Freedom Train Very Large banner. 1976. This banner measures 35 x 46 1/2. The banner is printed cotton muslin with brass grommets in each corner. There was a Freedom Train in 1947-1949 that became entangled in "Jim Crow" laws in the South. Langston Hughes wrote a critical poem, "Freedom Train" describing the Freedom Train passing through the segregated southern states, where black and white passengers rode in separate cars. The poem was famously recorded by Paul Robeson. In September 1947, facing a public relations backlash, the Truman administration announced a policy desegregating the train, scheduled to depart only two weeks later. Some states refused to allow Blacks and whites to view the Freedom Train exhibit together as the planners specified. The train ended up skipping many stops in segregated southern states. A second Freedom Train was planned for the national Bicentennial in 1975-76. This one toured all 48 contiguous states with 500 treasures of Americana. Since this exhibit was after the passage of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, the issues that plagued the first train did not arise in 1975, and it was a huge exhibition in the southern states. The American Freedom Train was a 26-car train led by one of three enormous steam engines restored just for the occasion. The train itself consisted of 10 display cars, converted from New York Central and Penn Central baggage cars. They carried more than 500 treasures of Americana, including George Washington's copy of the Constitution, the original Louisiana Purchase, Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of Oz, Joe Frazier's boxing trunks, Martin Luther King Jr.'s pulpit and robes, replicas of Jesse Owens' four Olympic gold medals from 1936 [31] (one of which was stolen somewhere along the way), a pair of Wilt Chamberlain's basketball shoes, and a rock from the Moon. Over a 21 month period from April 1, 1975 to December 31, 1976 more than 7 million Americans visited the train during its tour of all 48 contiguous states. Tens of millions more stood track side to watch it go by. It was by far the greatest event on rails since the end of the steam era. The banner has an image of the train at the center and the words "Heritage Week" in blue, with Spirit of '76 in red letters.

Item #17777

Price: $850.00