‘For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights’

Aunt Jemima and Uncle Mose Salt and Pepper Shakers, c. 1950s. Plastic, F & F Mold and Die Works, Dayton, Ohio. 2011. (Photo: E.G. Shempf)

Aunt Jemima and Uncle Mose Salt and Pepper Shakers, c. 1950s. Plastic, F & F Mold and Die Works, Dayton, Ohio. 2011. (Photo: E.G. Shempf)

“United We Shall Overcome” bumper sticker, c. 1960s. 2011. (Photo: E.G. Shempf)

“United We Shall Overcome” bumper sticker, c. 1960s. 2011. (Photo: E.G. Shempf)

Medgar Evers Funeral, Life Magazine, June 28, 1963. 2011. (Photo: E.G. Shempf)

Medgar Evers Funeral, Life Magazine, June 28, 1963. 2011. (Photo: E.G. Shempf)

“For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights,” a national traveling exhibition, will be on display at Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University, from Sept. 1-Oct. 20. A full schedule of related programming is also planned. More information is available here.

Through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters, and historic artifacts, the exhibition traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern civil rights movement and jolted Americans, both black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency.

Visitors to the immersive display will explore dozens of compelling and persuasive visual images, including photographs from influential magazines such as LIFE, JET, and EBONY; CBS news footage; and TV clips from “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Also included are civil rights-era objects that exemplify the range of negative and positive imagery — from Aunt Jemima syrup dispensers and 1930s produce advertisements to Jackie Robinson baseball ephemera and 1960s children’s toys with African-American portraiture.

“For All the World to See” is not a history of the civil rights movement, but rather an exploration of the vast number of potent images that influenced how Americans perceived race and the struggle for equality.

“This exhibit offers an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the past history of civil rights in our nation while pondering today’s issues,” said Allen Lanham, dean of library services. “I look forward to hearing from our campus and the greater community as we explore this important topic together.”

“For All the World to See” will be accompanied by a series of programs, including lectures, book discussions and a musical performance. The series will kick off at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 with an opening program and reception in the West Reading Room at Booth Library. Keynote speaker Janice Collins, assistant professor in the Journalism Department at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, will give the keynote address, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Race, Relations and Reflection.”

The exhibit and all programs are free and open to the public. More details are available here.

This exhibit at Booth Library is held in conjunction with “A Dark Matter …,” a visual conversation about violence, economics and power featuring contemporary artists, which will be on display from Aug. 13 through Oct. 30 at the Tarble Arts Center on the EIU campus.

“For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights” was curated by Dr. Maurice Berger, research professor, The Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore. It was co-organized by the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, and The Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture. For All the World to See has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). It has been adapted and is being toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA).

Local sponsors of the series are the Tarble Arts Center, Academy of Lifelong Learning and Illinois Humanities.

During the spring semester, Booth Library’s regular hours will be from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 1 a.m. Sunday. For more information on the library, call 217-581-6072, or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.

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