Freedom Train (Lawrence, MA)

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There were two national Freedom Trains that toured the United States: the 1947–49 special exhibit Freedom Train and the 1975-76 American Freedom Train that celebrated the United States Bicentennial. Each train was composed of seven cars and decorated in red, white and blue and its own itinerary and route around the 48 contiguous states, stopping to display Americana and related historical artifacts.

The 1940s Freedom Train exhibit was integrated — black and white viewers were allowed to mingle freely. When town officials in Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee, refused to allow blacks and whites to see the exhibits at the same time, the Freedom Train skipped the planned visits, amid significant controversy.

The first Freedom Train was proposed in April 1946 by Attorney General Tom C. Clark, who believed that Americans had begun taking the principles of liberty for granted in the post-war years. The idea was adopted by a coalition that included Paramount Pictures and the Advertising Council, which had just changed its name from “War Advertising Council”.

The Freedom Train arrived in Lawrence, Massachusetts, at the train station at the corner of Essex Street and Broadway, October 21, 1947 and remained behind the Post Office during its stay.  Lawrence was the 26th of 300 cities visited by the freedom Train.  At 8:30 in the morning Mayor James P. Meehan and the Freedom Train Committee were given a preview.  After that the train was visited by many citizens from the greater Lawrence area.

One Response

  1. Louise, did you see the pix I assemble for he 75 one in Lawrence?

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