Robert H. Jackson Center To Debut ‘Civil Rights: Making The Movement’ Exhibit

On Thursday the Robert H. Jackson Center will debut an original exhibit, “Civil Rights: Making the Movement.”

There will be a public opening from 6-8:30 p.m. at the center, 305 E. Fourth St., Jamestown. Refreshments will be served. There is no fee or reservation required to attend. A short commentary will be offered at 7 p.m. to accompany the exhibit.

The exhibit tells the history of the civil rights movement and how it accomplished what was thought of then as “impossible dreams.” The objects and artifacts in the “Making the Movement” collection – buttons, badges, pinbacks, posters, pamphlets, flyers, and mailers – document the changing goals and messages of the civil rights movement over time. The material culture of the freedom struggle served as powerful political symbols to the world, helping civil rights organizations and activists increase public awareness, recruit new members, raise money and press for legislative change.

A portion of the exhibit features photos and poems created by Jamestown High School English as a second language students. According to teachers Kiersten Hansen and Linda Cass, the students’ work was inspired by the book, “Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories,” by Ellen S. Levine.

“The photos and poems allowed the students to communicate in a unique way their own experiences, as well as what they learned about the Civil Rights Movement, and reflect on what those words mean in their own lives,” Hansen said.

Civil Rights: Making the Movement was developed in collaboration with David L. Crane, curator and owner of many of the objects in the exhibit. Crane is writing a book entitled: “Making the Movement: Objects, Objectives, and Civil Rights, 1909-1976.” Attendees will have the opportunity to meet Crane, as well as the teachers and students who participated in the project during the exhibit opening.

The exhibit was supported by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and Wegmans. The exhibit designer is Jennifer Champ, Jackson Center collections manager (archives). For more information, call 483-6646 or email info@roberthjackson.org.