In September 1955, shortly after fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi, his grieving mother, Mamie Till Bradley, distributed to newspapers and magazines a gruesome black-and-white photograph of his mutilated corpse. The mainstream media rejected the photograph as inappropriate for publication, but Bradley was able to turn to African-American periodicals for support. Asked why she would do this, Bradley explained that by witnessing, with their own eyes, the brutality of segregation, Americans would be more likely to support the cause of civil rights.
For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights,
a nationally touring exhibition from NEH on the Road, opens this week at the University of Idaho Library. 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,
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 local exhibition is coordinated jointly by the library and the Latah County Historical Society. A series of public presentations related to the Civil Rights Movement, African American experiences in Idaho, and Native American voting rights will be offered by LCHS via Zoom. The first presentation, “Say it Loud: The Civil Rights Movement and American Pop Culture” with Dr. Ken Faunce, is set for Thursday, Nov. 19th at 6:00pm. Presentation viewing information is available on the LCHS website.
Due to Covid-19 safety protocols, the University of Idaho Library is open by appointment only to those without a Vandal ID. To schedule a visit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 208.885.0845. Special visitor hours are also available on Mondays from 10:00am to 2:00pm and on Thursdays from 2:00 to 4:00pm. The exhibit is open through the end of the year.
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 Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture and the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. 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). Founded in 1972, Mid-America Arts Alliance is the oldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United States. For more information, visit www.maaa.org