the civil rights museum


For Women’s History Month, we’re joining our @nmaahc in sharing #HiddenHerstory, stories of women who have often been overlooked throughout history.

In this photo from the museum collection, Daisy Bates meets with seven members of the Little Rock Nine in her home. Bates played a significant role in the integration of the Little Rock Central High School in 1957, despite the death threats she received—one through the window of her home.

Bates, who was elected president of the Arkansas NAACP in 1952, was inspired by the Brown v. Board case to focus on education.

David Hammons (b. 1943) is an African-American artist from New York City. Among his works, which are often inspired by the civil rights and Black Power movements, one of the best known is the “African American Flag”, which he designed in 1990 by recoloring the U.S. national flag in the Garvey colors (red, black, and green of the Pan-African flag). The flag is a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a copy is hoisted at the entrance to the Studio Museum in Harlem, a New York museum devoted to the art of African-Americans.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s civil-rights exhibits tell stories of courage, perseverance

Sharlene Kranz cried when she walked through the civil rights exhibits at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

There were black-and-white photos of people she knew. A video saluting the role of women in the civil rights movement in America.

One million visitors: Smithsonian’s new black history museum hits milestone

But it was the timeline showing key moments in that struggle, leading all the way up to the Black Lives Matter movement of the present, that tugged at her heart.

“That was a tour de force,” says Kranz, 70, a civil rights veteran who has visited three times since the museum opened in September. “So much American history made graphic. … It shows change can happen. Change has happened. Change is happening. The sad thing is we had to go through all of that.”

Read more here.

19th century postcard depicting Baltimore Harbor, with the steamboat Chester in the center of the image. Collections of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

On this day, May 31, in 1872, a Chesapeake steamboat was the object of one of the earliest pre-Jim Crow cases in Maryland. Josephine Carr, an African-American school teacher from Kent County, sued the steamboat Chester for an assault. The incident had taken place on May 14, when Carr sat in the steamboat’s main cabin- a space reserved for white passengers. When Carr refused to move, the captain and crew dragged her to the black-only forward cabin, where Carr declined to wait. Instead, she moved to the bow, where she stood until the Chester reached Chestertown and Carr disembarked. She would later file a libel suit against the Chester for her mistreatment.

Carr won her landmark case, and was awarded $25 damages. Carr’s case was one of several in which 19th century courts ruled in favor of blacks on transportation accommodations- a precursor to many such standoffs, which Rosa Parks would someday make famous.

This evening at the Whitney, artist Danny Lyon will speak with Congressman John Lewis about his lifelong advocacy of civil liberties and his current leadership on issues including gun control and voting rights.

Tonight’s conversation takes place amid wrenching events for this country: the shooting of forty nine people at a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, followed weeks later by shootings in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Dallas, and Brooklyn. These tragedies have shaken communities across the country, demanding that we acknowledge and address the racial, social, and political divides that plague our country and that have given rise to decades of violence and loss.

Congressman Lewis and Danny Lyon first met in a related period of turbulence and change in the 1960s: Lewis was serving as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Lyon was a principal photographer of the Southern Civil Rights Movement and a staff member of SNCC.

Tonight’s program pays tribute to their more than fifty years of friendship. At a moment when national action is urgently called for, it also brings together two men who—whether through political leadership or through image-making—have dedicated their lives to social activism and to bringing greater equality and empathy to our national culture. 

Follow the conversation on Twitter, and check back on in the coming days for footage of the event.

Danny Lyon (b. 1942), Arrest of Taylor Washington, Atlanta, 1963. Vintage gelatin silver print.  9 7/16 × 6 ¼ in. (24 × 16 cm); Collection of the artist. © Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

i love war documentaries, books about ancient civilizations, art history museums, human rights and history and philosophy courses, theology, comparative politics, old libraries, period dramas and political intrigue films, all of it— i love the quiet classiness of a life spent immersed in this head space

Representative John Lewis remembers when he first met Martin Luther King, Jr. during a discussion this summer with artist Danny Lyon. Lewis and Lyon first met in the 1960s, when Lewis was serving as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Lyon was a principal photographer of the Southern Civil Rights Movement and a staff member of SNCC. Watch more.


¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York
On view July 22, 2015 – October 17, 2015

¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York explores the legacy of the Young Lords in East Harlem, the Bronx and the Lower East Side, focusing on specific political events that the Young Lords organized in these locations.

El Museo’s exhibition draws from works in the museum’s own collection including copies of the Young Lords weekly newspaper, Palante. It also explores the legacy of the Young Lords and the relationship between art and activism. Images by photographer Hiram Maristany that feature the Young Lords’ Garbage Offensive, their take over of the First Spanish Methodist Church of East Harlem (later renamed by the Young Lords as The People’s Church), their free morning breakfast program, the rerouting of a TB-testing truck and the funeral of Julio Roldán will all be highlighted in the exhibition.
Paintings and political prints (Antonio Martorell, Domingo García, and Marcos Dimas) from El Museo’s permanent collection will be on display. Works commissioned specifically for this exhibition by Coco Lopez, JC lenochan, Miguel Luciano, and Shellyne Rodriguez are also featured.

¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York will be exhibited at The Bronx Museum of the Arts (July 2 – October 15, 2015), El Museo del Barrio (July 22-October 17, 2015), and Loisaida Inc. (July 30 – October 10, 2015). The exhibition is co-organized by all three institutions. 

At El Museo del Barrio the exhibition is made possible with Public Support from Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council.

Open today! Danny Lyon: Message to the Future is the first comprehensive retrospective of the career of Danny Lyon to be presented in twenty-five years.

Danny Lyon (b. 1942), Crossing the Ohio River, Louisville, 1966. Vintage gelatin silver print. 8 × 12 ½ in. (20.3 × 31.8 cm). Silverman Museum Collection. © Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York


“In a few years, when the civil rights museum is open in Jackson, I want to take my family there. When they ask about the flag of the KKK that is in photo after photo of violence against black bodies, I want to tell them what it is and what it should be: a relic. But before we walk in, I want them to look up and see a flag hoisted on the pole outside, the new Mississippi flag, a beautiful, proud one representative not just of heritage but of future, one in which we all can imagine for the state we love.” -Actor Aunjanue Ellis-via CNN