Ashes and bricks were all that remained of the Mt. Pleasant Society Hall in August 1964. Before its destruction, the Baptist church was used by the civil rights organization CORE (the Congress of Racial Equality) to register and educate African-American voters. As the photo caption explains, “the Hall was still smoldering as this photograph was taken, since the fire department never came.”
This photograph is part of the Judiciary Committee’s bill files for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote based on race or color. Committee records constitute the official records of the House. Bill files typically contain correspondence and copies of bills; however, photographs can also be House records. Images like this help trace the evolution of the civil rights movement in the 20th century and document the House’s role in history.