Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Emory May Lose Rare Collection of Lynching Photos

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Emory May Lose Rare Collection of Lynching Photos

Article excerpt

noteworthy | news

ATLANTA

A rare exhibit of lynching photographs may be leaving Atlanta for good. Frustrated with its caretaker, Emory University, the collection's owner reGently drove to the Emory library and loaded boxes of lynching photos and other material not part of the exhibition at the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site Visitor Center.

James Allen plans to sell his collection to another institution.

"I've agonized over this," he says. "It's heartbreaking to me."

Allen, an Atlanta-based antiques dealer, and his partner, John Littlefield, spent 10 years gathering the material. The scenes, mostly captured by amateur photographers, were used as souvenirs at lynchings throughout America.

The exhibit's chilling content - among it, photographs and postcards of disfigured, burned corpses surrounded by crowds of smiling faces - is a reminder of the South's past.

Allen's frustration with Emory grew almost since the beginning of the partnership.

The university initially envisioned a showing in 2003. Allen instead chose the King site as a venue. He negotiated the dates and selected the curator. With the National Park Service, Emory co-sponsored the exhibit, "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. …

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