Documentaries

Individual oral histories have enriched the record of the U.S. House of Representatives. When combined, however, they create new perspectives and form new narratives about this unique institution. Watch a series of documentaries featuring interviews with people who lived through important events at the Capitol. Each video is narrated by the interviewees themselves.

Video

Bridging History: Selma and the Voting Rights Act of 1965

On March 7, 1965, peaceful protesters marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, were brutally attacked by state troopers. News of what became known as "Bloody Sunday" swept across America, galvanizing public opinion behind voting reform and prompting Congress to pass the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Through oral histories, archival footage, and historic photographs, this documentary examines the swift legislative response to the events in Selma. Watch as House Members and staff track the path of the Voting Rights Act from inception, through committee and onto the desk of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Source Credits (PDF)

Transcript (PDF)

House Pages Through the Years

For nearly 200 years, Pages shuttled bills, delivered messages, and tracked down Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. When they weren’t combing the Capitol campus, they went to school and explored the city. Watch as former Pages describe their day-to-day experiences on Capitol Hill during the 20th century, including their living arrangements, their education, and their many responsibilities. Included in this documentary are interviews with Pages who broke color and gender barriers, and Pages from different eras, including one who served in 1932.

U.S. Declarations of War in 1941

Early in the afternoon on December 8, 1941, Irving Swanson sat at the rostrum of the House and stared into a packed chamber. A few feet away, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan following its attack on Pearl Harbor the day before. Swanson, the reading clerk, recorded the vote approving military action. Watch as he describes the atmosphere in the chamber, the decision by Montana Representative Jeannette Rankin to oppose the war, and his experience reading the declarations of war against Germany and Italy.

September 11, 2001: A Narrative

During one terrifying morning in early September 2001, Capitol Hill watched as terrorists attacked New York City and Arlington, Virginia. That day many people wondered if the U.S. Congress was next. Watch as Members, Officers, and staff at the U.S. House of Representatives give a detailed account of September 11, 2001. The narrative includes memories of the House’s emergency recess, the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol, the secure location provided for House and Senate leaders, and the Members’ press conference on the Capitol steps that evening.