An amazing and poignant new exhibition opens this weekend at the Atlanta High Museum of Art: “History Remixed—The Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956–1968”. This exhibit will be on display until October 5 before it moves to the Smithsonian in November. To read more about the photographs in this exhibit and the photographers who captured these historic moments, try these terrific articles from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
This special collection of primary sources tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement through photography. What a wonderful opportunity to learn about this pivotal chapter in American history!
Here is how the High Museum of Art describes this special exhibition:
The exhibition features work by more than twenty photographers, with recognized names such as Bob Adelman, Morton Broffman, Bruce Davidson, Doris Derby, Larry Fink, James Karales, Builder Levy, and Steve Schapiro. Also included is the work of press photographers and amateurs who made stirring visual documents of marches, demonstrations and public gatherings out of a conviction for the social changes that the movement represented. Key photographs include Bob Adelman’s Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, 1963; Morton Broffman’s Dr. King and Coretta Scott King Leading Marchers, Montgomery, Alabama, 1965; Bill Eppridge’s Chaney Family as they depart for the Funeral of James Chaney, Philadelphia, Mississippi, 1964; and Builder Levy’s I Am a Man/Union Justice Now, Memphis, Tennessee, 1968.
Supplementing the photographs are archival documents, newspapers, magazines and posters from the period. These complementary materials demonstrate how, in the hands of community organizers and newspaper and magazine editors, photographs played a pivotal role in shaping public opinion. Documents such as Rosa Parks’ fingerprint paperwork and the blueprint of the bus on which she protested are shown alongside related photographs for the very first time. Also included will be several contemporary portraits, by photographer Eric Etheridge, of the young men and women who challenged segregation as Freedom Riders in 1961 and who are now senior citizens. All the photographs and documents in this exhibition will be accompanied by descriptive captions and an audio-visual component to provide deeper historical context.
Two significant groups of photographs in Road to Freedom have recently been acquired by the High. A portfolio of twenty-eight photographs by Danny Lyon, a leading photographer of the Civil Rights Movement, was given to the High Museum by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., in 2006. Turner acquired them directly from Lyon in the 1990s, when he was hired as a photographer on the TNT movie Freedom Song about the 1960s campaign for voting rights in Mississippi. The portfolio includes photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Representative John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy and other movement leaders.
The second is a group of thirty-three vintage photographs by Washington, D.C.-based freelance photographer Morton Broffman. In addition to working for several major publications, Broffman was the photographer for The Cathedral Age, the magazine of the Washington National Cathedral, for more than twenty-five years until his death in 1992. He was a campaign photographer for Senator Eugene McCarthy, who ran for president in 1968, and took numerous photographs of the Civil Rights gatherings in Washington, D.C, artist. and in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. His collection includes images of marchers and movement leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Representative John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, Joan Baez and James Baldwin. The photographs were given to the High by the Broffman family in 2006 in honor of the artist.