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Want to travel back in time to view the journey of the Civil Rights Movement come alive again? See the signs, photographs, news clippings and hear speeches that were a part of the movement in a new exhibit, For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, presented by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” These words were spoken by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader of the US civil rights movement, in his “I Have a Dream” speech.
King delivered the speech on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It is considered to be one of the greatest American political speeches ever delivered.
Just as important to the speeches and marches was the culture that emerged around it and its publication. The media played a key role on the road to equality. Through media, the events of the Civil Rights movement were captured by recordings and photographs; this allowed millions to be involved and informed regardless of distance.
For All the World to See, is an exhibit that takes people back in time throughout the movement, see signs that once filled cities and streets that advocated segregation, “For Whites Only, No Negros, Mexicans, or Dogs.” Hear inspirational speeches, from some of the leaders of the movement. See footage from the Marches for civil rights, or see photographs of people with hope and ambition.
“My work as a cultural historian has been concentrated on how visual images can alter and inspire and move public opinion,” Maurice Berger, curator of the exhibition told CNN.
During that time period, the images and speeches helped unite a voice of positivity and sense of hope amongst the black community. Through the use of media blacks in America were able to be informed and be a part of the process to strive for their civil rights.
“Six or seven years ago, I decided to build an archive of Civil Rights materials and begin to get an understanding of how these images looked, who saw them, and how they operated within culture and society,” he continued.
The modern U.S. Civil Rights Movement started with the arrest of a black woman by the name of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama. Police arrested her because she refused to give her seat to a white man on a Montgomery city bus which under the Jim Crow regulation was against the law. This event was widely publicized and sparked a boycott of the city buses.
The images that circulated throughout the United States exposed the oppression of African Americans as well as changing the way African Americans depicted themselves, according to Berger.
For All The World To See, opened in June in NMAAHC’s gallery at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. For All The World To See also has a virtual exhibit that is available for the entire world to see at CADVC’s online exhibition site.
The exhibit will be held at the following locations on the following dates:
• NMAAHC gallery at Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington, DC (June 10-November 27, 2011);
• Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland (November 2012 to March 2013);
• Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (April 2013-August 2013); Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada (Fall 2013)