Morgan O’Hara: Handwriting the Constitution

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On Inauguration Day in January 2017, Morgan O’Hara sat in the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library and began to copy the United States Constitution by hand. Soon, others joined her, and by the end of her session, six or seven people had participated. She has held sessions every month since, with new people contributing each time. “Hand copying a document can produce an intimate connection to the text and its meaning,” said O’Hara. “The hand writer may discover things about this document that they never knew, a passage that challenges or moves them. They may even leave with a deeper connection to the founders and the country, or even a sense of encouragement. It is important for us to become more intensely aware of our rights as citizens so that, should history begin to impinge upon these rights, we will recognize what is happening in time to act.”

O’Hara views this project as a social art practice and hopes it will become a movement of sorts, with sessions throughout the country. The Summit Free Public Library, in partnership with the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, will host one such session. The event will take place on June 28, 2018, from 4–7 PM. All are invited to participate.

For more information on the Summit Free Public Library at summitlibrary.org. To set up a handwriting session, visit handwritingtheconstitution.com or email handwritingtheconstitution@gmail.com. The Summit Free Public Library is located at 75 Maple Street, Summit, NJ, 07901.

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