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Quaker Heritage Center Unveils Two Civil Rights Era Exhibits

Freedom Riders and 'The Long March' Featured in QHC Gallery

February 28, 2014

This burning bus is a disturbing image from the Freedom Riders' courageous endeavor.

This burning bus is a disturbing image from the Freedom Riders' courageous endeavor.

The Civil Rights Movement played a defining role in mid-20th century America and set the stage for change in subsequent decades that reached an apex with the election of an African-American president.

The Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College is presenting a pair of exhibits this spring highlighting important components of the movement that forever changed the nation.

One, featuring the Freedom Riders, will run through April 16 while a series Herbert Block’s political cartoons from the Herb Block Foundation, titled “The Long March,” will run through May 2.

Regular gallery hours during this exhibit are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., however, extended hours will include April 5, noon to 5 p.m.; April 21 through April 25, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for National Campus Museum Week; and April 26, noon to 5 p.m.

QHC curator Ruth Brindle said a half century later provides an opportunity to revisit this seminal era.

“The Civil Rights Movement was about everyday people working together to make change, standing up for themselves and for others and changing American culture in ways that, for generations, seemed impossible,” she said.

(LEFT) Pictured is one of Herblock's political cartoon panels in the exhibit.

The saga of the Freedom Rides is an empowering story of courage and commitment. During the first year of John F. Kennedy’s presidency, more than 400 Americans participated in a dangerous experiment designed to awaken the nation’s conscience.

Despite two U.S. Supreme Court decisions mandating the desegregation of interstate travel, racial integration was forbidden by law and custom in much of the Deep South.

Inspired by visions of social revolution, the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders” challenged the mores of a racially segregated society by performing a disarmingly simple act—traveling together in small interracial groups and sitting where they pleased on buses and trains.

Demanding unrestricted access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms, they were met with bitter racism, mob violence and imprisonment along the way. But their courage and sacrifice over eight months in 1961 changed America forever.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with American Experience developed this exhibit. The National Endowment for the Humanities provided major funding for the traveling exhibit.

Herbert Block (1909-2001), the political cartoonist better known as "Herblock," became the most honored cartoonist of his time, winning three Pulitzer Prizes, and sharing a fourth for his Watergate cartoons that contributed to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

He was the only living cartoonist whose work was exhibited in the National Gallery of Art, and the only living cartoonist to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He caricatured 13 U.S. presidents, from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush, chronicling American history from the 1929 Stock Market crash through summer 2001.

He took on causes with courage and conviction, coined the phrase "McCarthyism," forced reform and became the most influential and enduring political cartoonist in American history.

The Civil Rights Movement was one of Herblock’s chief concerns. He illustrated the history and dialogue of this turbulent era in American society. His cartoons show us who we were as Americans, as well as the lessons to be learned from the Civil Rights Movement.

“Looking at Herblock’s political cartoons over seven decades, we realize he was one of those people that fought long and hard to make us a better people,” Brindle said. “Herblock’s cartoons continue to resonate and will speak to us about these crucial events in our history for many generations to come.”

Augmenting these exhibits will be a five-minute documentary on the Freedom Riders, a 1961 recording narrative by Edwin Randall called “The Sit-In Story, Martin Luther King’s address delivered to the AME Church Convention in Cincinnati in 1964 titled “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution,” and photographs and first-person accounts in which Wilmington College alumni, faculty and staff will share their experiences during the era.
 

Quaker Heritage Center presents "The Long March"

Time: 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM
Date: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 — Friday, May 02, 2014
Location: Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center
Description:

March 19 through May 2…. Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center presents the gallery exhibit “The Long March: A Traveling Exhibit from the Herb Block Foundation.” Regular gallery hours during this exhibit are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., however, extended hours will include April 5, noon to 5 p.m.; April 21 through April 25, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for National Campus Museum Week; and April 26, noon to 5 p.m.

 

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