“1966: Civil Rights at 50”

On display through Jan. 2, 2017 | Level 4

“Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement”

Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement

This companion exhibit features a section of the original F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., where in 1960 four African American college students launched the sit-in movement, and a bronze casting of the Birmingham, Ala., jail cell door behind which Martin Luther King Jr. penned his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail” in 1963. Level 4

“What we need is Black Power!” — Civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael

“1966: Civil Rights at 50” explores the dramatic civil rights events of 1966, from the rise of the Black Power movement to the shooting of civil rights protester James Meredith while on his solitary “March Against Fear” to promote voter registration. The new display is part of an annual changing exhibit that explores the relationship between the news media and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The exhibit traces the rise of the Black Power movement from its roots in rural Alabama to the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, Calif. Powerful images and artifacts illustrate pivotal moments such as civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael’s explosive speech calling for Black Power at a rally in Mississippi. The slogan “Black Power” soon became a rallying cry for African Americans across the country.

Print news artifacts in the exhibit include a June 1966 issue of Jet magazine that ran Associated Press photographer Jack Thornell’s images of the James Meredith shooting. One of Thornell’s gripping images of Meredith sprawled on the road in agony would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for its searing depiction of racism in America. After the shooting, civil rights organizations joined forces to complete Meredith’s “March Against Fear,” regarded as the last great civil rights march of the 1960s.

Other key civil rights events covered in the exhibit include the riots that flared in more than 40 cities during the summer of 1966 and the Rev. Martin Luther King’s fight against segregation and housing inequalities in the urban North.


Contributing support for “1966: Civil Rights at 50” has been provided by Altria Group.

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  • “Make Some Noise” explores the new generation of student leaders of the civil rights movement who exercised their First Amendment rights and fought segregation in the early 1960s.