Spanning the period from the Gold Rush to the post-9/11 era, the exhibition tells the hidden stories of unsung heroes and heroines throughout California who stood up for their rights in the face of social hostility, physical violence, economic hardship, and political stonewalling.

The exhibition educates audiences about the evolution of civil liberties and civil rights in California and how they are central to democracy. Stories of personal struggle demonstrate the ongoing fight and provide a framework through which current controversies can be debated.

The central themes of the exhibition are:

  • Civil liberties are essential for democracy.
  • Civil liberties struggles repeat over time while targeted groups change.
  • Civil liberties are perpetually in flux. Each generation must fight to preserve them.
  • Although our constitution enumerates rights, it is the people who must fight for equality and justice to make them meaningful.

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Upcoming exhibit dates: