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Museum of Culture and Environment

College of the Sciences

Civil Rights Exhibit, Events Examines Race in the U.S., Jan. 20-March 16 at MCE

For All The World To See Exhibit

In 1955, shortly after 14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi, his grieving mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, distributed a gruesome black-and-white photograph of his mutilated corpse to newspapers and magazines.

The mainstream media rejected the photograph as inappropriate for publication, but Mobley was able to turn to African-American periodicals for support. Asked why she would do this, Mobley explained that by witnessing with their own eyes, the brutality of segregation, Americans would be more likely to support the cause of civil rights.

For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, a nationally-touring exhibition from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEH) on the Road, will be at the CWU Museum of Culture & Environment (MCE) from January 30 thru March 16, 2019.

A companion exhibit that situates this history within the Pacific Northwest, discussing civil rights struggles and activism at home, will be open from February 1 thru February 28 in the Diversity and Equity Center (DEC), Black Hall 105-1.

Through a compelling collection of photographs, television clips, art posters, and historic artifacts, the exhibit traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern civil rights movement and jolted Americans, both black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency.

Visitors will explore dozens of forceful and persuasive visual images, including photographs from magazines, such as LIFE, JET, and EBONY; CBS news footage; and TV clips from The Ed Sullivan Show. Also included are civil rights-era objects that exemplify the range of negative and positive imagery—from Aunt Jemima syrup dispensers and 1930s produce advertisements to Jackie Robinson baseball ephemera and 1960s children’s toys with African American portraiture.

For All the World to See is not a history of the civil rights movement, but rather an exploration of the vast number of powerful images that influenced how Americans perceived race and the struggle for equality.

Throughout winter quarter, the MCE, in conjunction with CWU’s Africana and Black Studies and the DEC, is hosting a series of events that address themes from the exhibition to include:

• Jan. 31, 5 p.m.  Opening Celebration – Music, food, and speakers to honor the opening of For All the World to See

• Feb. 19, 5 p.m.   Being Black in Ellensburg – A safe space for CWU’s black students, faculty, and staff and Ellensburg community members to share stories.
Location: Wellington Events Center

• Feb. 21, 5 p.m. Un/Belonging: Can People of Color Call Ellensburg “Home”? – A panel featuring the voices of people of color in our community as they reflect on living in Ellensburg.

• Feb. 28, 5 p.m.  Intersectionality and Solidarity: A Roundtable Discussion with Masonya Bennett, PhD – Join Bennett along with a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and community members as they consider new forms of solidarity going forward.  

Also offered are tours of For All the World to See, led by CWU black student leaders from CWU’s Black Student Union, S.I.S.T.E.R.S., Brother 2 Brother, and Scholars in Action. These tours, called “Walking in Our Shoes,” are open to the public and will take place during the following dates and times:

• Feb. 7, 5 p.m.
• Feb. 14, 3 p.m.
• Feb. 21, 11 a.m. 

For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights was curated by Maurice Berger, research professor and chief curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It was co-organized by The Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.

For All the World to See has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the NEH. It has been adapted and is being toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). Founded in 1972, Mid-America Arts Alliance is the oldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United States. For more information about Mid-American Arts Alliance and the NEH On the Road program visit www.maaa.org and www.nehontheroad.org.

For more information about programs at the CWU Museum of Culture & Environment visit www.cwu.edu/museum, email museum@cwu.edu, or call the gallery at 509-963-2313. The MCE is free and open to the public Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Parking on CWU campus is free after 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays.

Photo courtesy of NEH On the Road

Media contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484, Dawn.Alford@cwu.edu.

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