Showtime: Atlanta

Civil rights exhibit at Emory

 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Amid the scores of photographs in an exhibit chronicling the history of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference are two that — at first glance — don’t seem to fit.

The black-and-white photographs are of small children in Vietnam.

That’s the beauty of the exhibit, And the Struggle Continues: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Fight for Social Change, at Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Library, said Sarah Quigley, co-curator and a former SCLC project archivist.

The photos are displayed with a copy of a draft agreement between the SCLC and the government of Vietnam to establish an orphanage to help the children fathered by American troops.

“These are records that had never before been examined by scholars and tell a story about the SCLC that many people don’t know,” Quigley said.

It’s unfortunate, Quiqley said, that people know more about the SCLC’s work before the assassination of its co-founder, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in April 1968, than after.

“The overreaching message of the exhibition is what did the civil rights movement focus on once voting rights were legally recognized and once the visible enemy was gone,” she said.

The exhibit of about 200 items, which runs through Dec. 1, includes information about the orgaization’s fight against the oppressive system of apartheid in South Africa, its work for equal access to health care and jobs, and Ralph David Abernathy’s April 1969 letter from a Charleston jail after he was arrested during a hospital workers strike.

•  And the Struggle Continues: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Fight for Social Change runs through Dec. 1 at Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Library, Level 3; 540 Asbury Circle, Atlanta; 404-727-6873; web.emory.library.edu, click on “news and events.” Free admission.

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