Generations of Americans have grappled with the meaning of freedom as it is expressed in the United States’ founding documents. Discover how fights for equality has transformed what it means to be free and how denied rights are gained.

Based on the central idea that the history of the United States has been shaped by conflicts over what it means to be free, this exhibition uses images, artifacts, and interactive elements to explore familiar and not-so-familiar stories from the nation’s past. From women’s suffrage and the formation of labor unions, to Japanese internment and a local school boycott, the exhibition highlights some of the ways Americans have struggled over the meaning of freedom.

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Exhibition-Facing Freedom-NWP i061929 This broadside advertised a convention held by the National Woman’s Party. The group’s ideas and actions were considered radical, even by some other suffragists. CHM, ICHi-061929
Exhibition-Facing Freedom-Job discrimination march-i06238 In the early 1940s, A. Philip Randolph organized a March on Washington movement to protest discrimination in government hiring practices and segregation in the armed forces. Flyers like this one urged black Chicagoans to support Randolph’s plans. CHM, ICHi-062389
Exhibition-Facing Freedom-WWII propagande-i062391 This propaganda poster was created to raise money and support for the US war effort and depicts the Japanese Home Islands with a bomb falling on the flag of the Imperial Japanese Army, US Treasury Department. CHM, ICHi-062391
Exhibition-Facing Freedom-school march-i020840 This flyer reads "Wanted—Thousands of Freedom Marchers," promoting a march on City Hall to protest school segregation on October 22, 1963. CHM, ICHi-020840
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