UGA’s Russell Library Hosts Exhibit of Civil Rights Photographs

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A traveling exhibit featuring photos from the Civil Rights Movement will be on display this summer at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries.Photo and artwork commemorating Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech

The exhibit I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970 opens Thursday, June 16 in the Harrison Feature Gallery of the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, displaying a wide range of images taken by amateurs, local photojournalists, and internationally known photographers. 

Documenting the historic 1960s, the photos tell a visual story of the moments that marked the transformative decade and shed light on daily life in the American South. The exhibit includes iconic images of protestors who carried signs with messages like “I Am A Man” or sat at segregated lunch counters, while other photos have been rarely seen.

“Nothing is more powerful than photographs to capture the story of a movement, particularly the Civil Rights Movement,” said Sheryl Vogt, director of the Russell Library. “These 60-year-old images will take many of us back to the days of our youth in visceral memory, and yet, they can stimulate equally deep emotions in those born since then. They show us how far we’ve come and, in a sense, how far we still have to go.”

Black and white photos of civil rights demonstrationsThe exhibition includes photos from such flashpoints in the fight for equal rights and desegregation as James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi, the Selma to Montgomery March, the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, Ku Klux Klan gatherings, the Poor People’s Campaign, the 1968 Mule Train from the Mississippi Delta to Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. This traveling exhibit, curated by Southern folklorist and author William Ferris and his research team, is presented by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

To celebrate the exhibit, the Russell Library will host a screening on Tuesday, June 28 of the HBO documentary King in the Wilderness. Directed by Peter Kunhardt, this documentary film provides new perspective into King’s character, his doctrine of nonviolent resistance, and his internal philosophical struggles through conversations with his inner circle. This noon event is free, and pizza will be provided.

This exhibition has been adapted from a display originally produced for the Pavillon Populaire in Montpellie

r, France, by the Center for Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The French exhibition was funded by the city of Montpellier and administered by Gilles Mora, director of the Pavillon Populaire. 

The exhibit will remain on display through August 11. The galleries at the Special Collections Libraries, located on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, are open to visitors for free from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, with extended evening hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit

A variety of photographs of resistance and the aftermath of an attack