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Civil Rights history to come to campus in visiting exhibit

by Janene Zaccone, communications and marketing last modified Oct 07, 2013 10:21 AM

In October 1960, Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. sat in the Fulton County jail although the charges brought against him had been dropped. Louisvillians Carl and Anne Braden were outraged and sent King a telegram of support on Oct. 24.

Civil Rights history to come to campus in visiting exhibit

The exhibit includes a wall where people can post their dreams.

That telegram and other documents related to Louisville and other parts of Kentucky are part of The King Center’s digital online archive, which was made possible by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Technology for Social Good program.

The University of Louisville will host a traveling exhibit about the archive Oct. 21 through Oct. 25 in the east lobby of Ekstrom Library. Hours are 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 21; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 22 through Oct. 24; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oct. 25. Admission is free and public.

The interactive exhibit showcases digital images of key documents from King’s correspondence, speeches and sermons.

“Documents such as these, whether originals or digital copies, are the voices of the past,” said Tracy K’Meyer, chair of UofL’s history department and a Civil Rights historian. “They allow us to see historical events through the eyes of the participants and to have a glimpse of how people at the time experienced and understood segregation and the movement to overcome it.”

They also offer something transcriptions cannot, she continued.

“Often the originals are in handwriting, with margin notes, corrections, etc. Even if they are typed they demonstrate the older technology and mode of communication,” she explained.

“There is also the excitement of seeing a document that was actually in the hands of a figure from the past.”

Playing off King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, visitors also can write their dreams on a card and post them on the Dream Wall section of the exhibit. The cards later will be digitized and saved for posterity as part of The King Center’s archive.

UofL is the only Kentucky stop on the exhibit’s current schedule. The exhibit’s content dovetails with UofL’s new multi-year initiative, Project Progress. Starting later this month, the university will have special programming to look back and reflect on what was taking place in the Civil Rights Movement each year from 1963 to 1968 and then look at where society is now.

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