The Freedom Collection includes important documents and artifacts from major freedom movements, which will be displayed for public viewing at the George W. Bush Presidential Center and made available to researchers and scholars studying these movements. For information about the documentary archive, please contact us.
“House church” Christians – those who worship in private homes because their churches are not recognized by the government – are often imprisoned for their unauthorized beliefs and activities. These prisoners are typically denied access to religious materials including the Bible. In response to this ban on sacred Scripture, a group of imprisoned believers transcribed each book of the Bible by hand into notebooks and circulated them within the prison. On November 1, 2011, a group of exiled house church Christians presented President and Mrs. Bush with these Bible pages for inclusion in the Freedom Collection. The pages in this notebook comprise the Book of Revelation.
Image provided courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Oscar Elias Biscet is a physician and a prominent advocate for human rights and democracy in Cuba. Dr. Biscet was among 75 dissidents arrested during the Black Spring crackdown in 2003. In a summary judgment for crimes against state security, he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. While being held in solitary confinement in a tiny cell, Dr. Biscet created this message on a handkerchief, which was smuggled out of prison. The illustrations at the bottom of the handkerchief include a drawing of the Cuban flag, a reference to the Group of 75 political prisoners arrested in the crackdown, and an image of a noose crossed out to protest the death penalty.
He was released from prison in March 2011, after serving almost twelve years under harsh conditions. Dr. Biscet continues...Read More +
In January 2009 President Bush received this poem written by Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, then perhaps Cuba’s best-known prisoner of conscience. The poem was written on a handkerchief and smuggled out of prison and out of Cuba. In the poem Dr. Biscet honors President and Mrs. Bush for their work on behalf of freedom in Cuba and around the world.
Oscar Elias Biscet is a physician and a prominent advocate for human rights and democracy in Cuba. He was released from prison in March 2011 after serving almost twelve years under harsh conditions for having organized peaceful political protests.
In 2007 President Bush awarded Dr. Biscet the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award was accepted on Dr. Biscet’s behalf by his...Read More +
In 1977, a group of Czechoslovak dissidents drafted and published the Charter 77 manifesto, which called on the communist government to respect human rights. Charter 77 was inspired in part by the 1975 Helsinki Accords, an international treaty signed by the United States, Canada and most European countries. The Helsinki Accords committed governments to guaranteeing basic human rights, such as freedom of speech, conscience, and assembly. But in Czechoslovakia and other communist states, these rights were routinely denied.
“The freedoms and rights of the people guaranteed by these pacts are important factors of civilization for which, throughout history, many progressive forces have been striving and their enactment can be of great assistance to the humanistic...Read More +
In 2007, President Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet for his dedicated work advocating for human rights, freedom, and democracy in Cuba. At the time, Dr. Biscet was serving a harsh prison sentence in Havana for his activism. The medal was accepted by his children and directors of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which Dr. Biscet founded.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor that a president may bestow. Dr. Biscet has been recognized worldwide for his peaceful and passionate opposition to the abuses of the Cuban government.
Despite his release from prison in 2011, Dr. Biscet has pledged not to allow the medal to enter Cuba until the country is free. The medal has been entrusted to the Freedom...Read More +