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This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement

January 13 - March 4

| Free

This major traveling exhibition presents the Civil Rights Movement (also called the Southern Freedom Movement) through the work and voices of nine activist photographers – men and women who chose to document the national struggle against segregation and other forms of race-based disenfranchisement from within the movement. Unlike images produced by photojournalists, who covered breaking news events, most of the photographers in this exhibit were affiliated with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and documented its activities by focusing on the student activists and local people who together made the movement happen.

Exhibition Opening Gallery Talk
Leslie Kelen, Director of the Center for Documentary Expression and Art
Jan 14 | 1:30 PM

The exhibition focuses primarily on the Deep South states of Mississippi and Alabama between the years 1963-1966 and features a selection of 157 black and white photographs, representing the work of Bob Adelman, George Ballis, Bob Fitch, Bob Fletcher, Matt Herron, David Prince, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela and Tamio Wakayama. Images are grouped into four themes and convey SNCC’s organizing strategies, resolve in the face of violence and impact on the nation’s political and cultural consciousness. In addition, photographers’ eye witness accounts of life inside the movement – their descriptions of how and why photos were taken and their personal revelations of the movement’s impact on their lives – are incorporated into audio guides prepared for adults and children. These guides are presented through the actual voices of the photographers and evoke the way activists experienced a quest for social justice that transformed American life.

Organized by the Center for Documentary Expression and Art in Salt Lake City, Utah, and curated by Matt Herron, one of the contributing photographers, the exhibition’s name was inspired by “This Little Light of Mine;” the children’s gospel song, written by composer and teacher Harry Dixon Loes around 1920, to become a civil rights anthem during the 1950s and ‘60s. The exhibition highlights the efforts of unsung heroes within the movement, capturing the day-to-day struggles of everyday citizens working to register voters, hold workshops, and march for civil rights.

Gallery Hours:
Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00-5:00 p.m.


January 13
March 4
Event Category:


Irving Arts Center


Main Gallery
3333 North MacArthur Blvd.
Irving, TX 75062 United States
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