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For All the World to See Exhibit Now on Display

In the summer of 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till of Chicago was visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta. He was beaten, shot, and dumped in the river after reports that he had flirted with a white woman in the Delta town of Money. At the teenager’s funeral in Chicago, his grieving mother insisted on an open casket so that all could witness the brutality of his murder, saying “Let the world see what I’ve seen.” The publication of a black-and-white photo of Till’s mutilated corpse in Jet magazine was a turning point in the American Civil Rights Movement. It was an image that sparked outrage on a national scale, a catalyst for an era of protests, political campaigns, and racial conflict.

The exhibition For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights examines the influence of visual culture and images like that of Emmett Till in shaping and transforming the struggle for racial equality by showing the world the realities of segregation and racial violence, inspiring activists, and fostering African American pride and the Black Power movement.

Supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and other sources, For All the World to See was organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Curator Maurice Berger has brought together 250 objects—including photographs, posters, television and radio clips, political buttons, comic books, and toys—that track the development of the civil rights movement from the 1940s to the 1970s. Visitors can see images of Ku Klux Klan meetings and the historic Selma march, examine early issues of Ebony and Jet, and trace the evolution of the portrayal of African Americans in popular culture from Aunt Jemima advertising paraphernalia to the 1970s television show, Julia.

This exhibit will be on display January 28 through March 16, 2017.

For Tour information, call Amy Donohoe at 903-792-8681.

Some of the content in For All the World to See shows the graphic consequences of violence and racism. The graphic photograph of Emmett Till’s open casket and some of the images may be disturbing to viewers of any age, and parental discretion is strongly advised.

The images are included because they were vital to the success of the modern Civil Rights movement.

You and your child will encounter sensitive encounter sensitive and graphic content as you explore the exhibit. Find the For Parents/Guardians guide for helpful conversation starters and reflective questions. To begin, consider these basic guidelines for approaching tough subjects:

  • Use open-ended questions. Help your child find their voice.
  • When confronted with a tough question, take your time. It is okay to say “I don’t know” or “Let’s find out together.” Be sensitive to the fact that your own experiences with race and racism will play a part in how you answer questions.

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