Bold New Museums Herald Growing Interest in U.S. Civil Rights Movement

By Severson, Kim | International Herald Tribune, February 21, 2012 | Go to article overview

Bold New Museums Herald Growing Interest in U.S. Civil Rights Movement


Severson, Kim, International Herald Tribune


The bigger, bolder museums signal an era of scholarship and interest in the history of both civil rights and African-Americans.

Drive through many parts of the Deep South in the United States and you will find a monument or a museum dedicated to civil rights.

A visitor can peer into the motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was staying when he was shot, or stand near the lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, where four young men began a sit-in that helped end segregation.

Other institutions are less dramatic, like the Tubman African American Museum in Macon, Georgia, where toilet fixtures from segregated restrooms are on display alongside folk art.

But now, a second generation of bigger, bolder museums is about to emerge.

Atlanta; Jackson, Mississippi; and Charleston, South Carolina, all have projects in the works. Coupled with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, which breaks ground in Washington this week, they represent nearly $750 million worth of plans.

Collectively, they signal a new era of scholarship and interest in the history of both civil rights and African-Americans. "We're at that stage where the civil rights movement is the new World War II," said Doug Shipman, chief executive for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a $100 million project that is set to break ground in Atlanta this summer and open in 2014.

"It's a move to the next phase of telling this story," he said.

The collection at the museum, which is to be set on two and half acres, or about a hectare, of prime real estate in central Atlanta donated by Coca-Cola, will include 10,000 documents and artifacts from Dr. King and a series of paintings based on the life of Representative John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who was instrumental in organizing student sit-ins, bus boycotts and nonviolent protests.

Like many of the new museums, the Atlanta center aims higher than the first wave of monuments to the period. It will link the civil rights movement to global human rights, exploring how, for example, Dr. King's speeches helped fuel the Arab Spring.

Though the momentum for the new museums is strong, the recession has shaved the size and shape of some projects, and raising money can be difficult.

John Fleming, the director of the International African American Museum planned for Charleston and a former president of the Association of African American Museums, points to the United States National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia. That project, led by former Governor L. Douglas Wilder, was supposed to open on 38 acres in 2004. It recently went into bankruptcy, and people who donated money and artifacts are upset.

Although what exactly went wrong is still being debated, Mr. Fleming said that in part the project aimed too high and did not adjust as the economy softened. Mr. Fleming's own project began as an $80 million museum of 70,000 square feet, or about 6,500 square meters. Now, it is smaller by $30 million and 20,000 square feet.

"Most black museums have difficulty raising funds," Mr. Fleming said. "Being truthful, I don't think people in the African-American community have stepped up to the plate in terms of making significant donations to these projects."

Other directors disagree, saying a generation whose parents or grandparents lived through the 1950s and 1960s are now elected officials and on boards, where they have influence over where cultural dollars are spent. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bold New Museums Herald Growing Interest in U.S. Civil Rights Movement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.