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Black History Month Celebrated Through Photography

Feb. 02, 2010

Story Contact(s):
Nathan Hurst, hurstn@missouri.edu, 573-882-6217

POYi exhibit: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrested. Photo by Charles Moore, 1958

POYi exhibit: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrested. Photo by Charles Moore, 1958

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­—The University of Missouri is commemorating Black History Month this February; two special exhibits will display historical photographic images that both celebrate and honor the history of the civil rights movement in Missouri and throughout the country. The exhibits, “Documenting the Black Experience in Small Town Missouri,” presented by the Missouri Photo Workshop (MPW), and “Dream, Hope, Change: Photographs Honoring the African American Culture and Experience,” presented by Pictures of the Year International (POYi), draw from their respected archives poignant images describing the life and times of African Americans in our society throughout the last six decades.

The MPW exhibit explores the lives of African Americans in small towns. From schools to churches to homes, African Americans built their own communities within the larger communities. They had to, since they were often shut out by “whites only” attitudes and laws.

“The images touch the chords of universal human experience. There will be ways that some pictures will resonate with each person in a very personal way,” David Rees, co-director of the MPW, said.

“It’s a unique and historic archive and it speaks, not only of small town Missouri, but of small town America,” Jim Curley, co-director of the MPW, said.

The exhibit will be on display on the second floor of Ellis Library throughout the month of February, with a few additional prints in the foyer of the Reynolds Journalism Institute. For more information on the Missouri Photo Workshop, visit their website: http://www.mophotoworkshop.org/

The POYi exhibit, “Dream, Hope, Change: Photographs Honoring the African-American Culture and Experience,” pairs the milestones of black leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama with snapshots of a vibrant African-American life and community. Visitors will be reminded of actualized hurdles and milestones, such as the integration of public schools and the March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It’s a mirror of the highlights, conflicts, clashes, and celebrations in the last 60 years,” Jessie King, the exhibit organizer, said.

“The exhibit brings hope for the future, that the gains our society has made during the past 50 years have been validated and justified,” Rick Shaw, the POYi director, said. “It recognizes that there is still a lot of room for improvement and growth and hopefully it will serve as an inspiration as we move forward.”

A majority of the exhibit will be displayed in the main lobby of the Reynolds Journalism Institute with a smaller portion shown on the second floor of Ellis Library throughout the month of February. The Pictures of the Year International Archive is available thanks to the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. For more information on the POYi, visit the website: www.poyi.org.

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