Explore projects and documentaries that chronicle specific events and themes in House history, including women in Congress, civil rights legislation, and World War II.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the election of Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina, the first Black Member of the U.S. House, listen to interviews of African-American Representatives, staff, and family members.
On November 7, 1916, Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the United States Congress. To commemorate the centennial of her election and swearing-in, listen to interviews of former women Representatives, staff, and family members.
People are the core of the House of Representatives. Learn more about this large and complex institution through personal recollections and anecdotes by Members, Officers, and staff.
Sparked by a growing grassroots movement during the mid-20th century, Congress passed landmark legislation to protect American civil rights and to prevent discrimination. Narratives from the era include accounts of racial and gender barriers, as well as historic firsts in the House of Representatives. Members and staff share stories of the movement both within the institution and beyond. To learn about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the House and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, please visit our online exhibit, The House and Civil Rights.
Believing the U.S. Capitol to be a likely target for terrorists on 9/11, officials evacuated the building and, in a rare occurrence, the House suspended its activities for the day. Recollections ranging from Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert to House Pages, document how the chamber responded to the unprecedented crisis.
On March 1, 1954, a group of Puerto Rican nationalists fired onto the House Floor from the galleries wounding five U.S. Representatives. Eyewitnesses recall the attack and the aftermath of the violence.
Artifacts and stories go hand in hand. Watch eyewitnesses to House history talk about memorable objects—from portraits to baseball trophies—that are now in the House Collection.
The House of Representatives took a leading role in the impeachment investigation of President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate Scandal in the 1970s. Interviewees recall the highly-publicized Judiciary Committee hearings and reflect on the era’s lasting effects on American government.
Eyewitnesses to both ordinary proceedings and monumental events, Pages played an important role in the House of Representatives from the earliest Congresses. Learn about the institution through the eyes of the young messengers who ran errands for Members and assisted in floor operations. Accounts from as early as the 1930s, provide an historical overview of House Pages’ work, school, free time, and living arrangements.
On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress to ask for a declaration of war after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt’s speech, Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin’s lone vote against war, and security at the Capitol are discussed in a series of firsthand accounts of the World War II era. Oral histories help to provide a more complete picture of the House of Representatives during this period of global conflict.
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.