Upcoming Exhibit to Highlight the Role of Young People in the Civil Rights Movement

Upcoming Exhibit to Highlight the Role of Young People in the Civil Rights Movement
Jenny James Lee
December 3, 2014

Freedom School ImageRace relations in the United States is on the minds of many this month, as protests and activities stemming from the events in Ferguson, Mo, continue across much of the nation. On Monday, December 1st, a peaceful demonstration was held outside of W. W. Hagerty Library, shutting down the intersection of 33rd & Market Streets.

Young people - high school and college students - can play a powerful role in demanding and enacting change and is the topic of an upcoming exhibit coming to W. W. Hagerty Library January 15 - February 13, 2015.

Children, Youth and Civil Rights, 1951 - 1968, will be on display beginning in mid January. It is a traveling student-researched exhibit developed at the University of California, detailing impact of students in the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit uses photographs, newspaper articles, school reports, political cartoons, enrollment statistics and other materials that highlight the work of young people and their contributions to the civil rights movement.

Highlights of the exhibit include:

ο The school boycotts launched by African American students in Prince Edward County, VA in 1951 which eventually led to a lawsuit included in the momentous Brown v. Board of Education decision in May 1954.

ο The Little Rock Nine who became nationally and internationally known when hundreds of U.S. paratroopers were brought to enforce a court order allowing black teenagers to enroll at an all-white Central High School in September 1957

ο The Children's Crusade in Birmingham in May 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. allowed children and young people to march and launch their own demonstrations against Jim Crow practices in the city and thousands spent time in jail.

ο The 13-year struggle to gain admission of orphan black boys to Philadelphia's Girard College, a state-supported private school located in the heart of the African American community, but surrounded by walls ten feet high.

ο The Quality Integrated Education Movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s which included massive school boycotts involving thousands of school students seeking an end to segregation and more equality among schools.

ο Freedom Summer began with the disappearance of CORE workers James Chaney and Michael Schwerner and student volunteer Andrew Goodman in 1964. In total, over a thousand students enrolled in the 40 Freedom Schools opened through the efforts of young student volunteers who began working in Freedom Schools and drove voter registration efforts.

The Libraries is working to transport and mount the exhibit. Any faculty or student groups wishing to coordinate a class or event with the exhibit is invited to contact the Libraries communications manager, Jenny James Lee, at jaj92@drexel.edu for more information.