The DuSable Museum of African American History

For all the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights

For all the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights

For all the World to See: Visual Culture and the struggle for Civil Rights

In September 1955, shortly after Emmett Till was murdered by white supremacists in Money, Mississippi, his grieving mother, Mamie Till Bradley, distributed to newspapers and magazines a gruesome black-and-white photograph of his mutilated corpse. Asked why she would do this, Mrs. Bradley explained that by witnessing, with their own eyes, the brutality of segregation and racism, Americans would be more likely to support the cause of racial justice and equality. “Let the world see what I’ve seen,” was her reply. The publication of the photograph transformed the modern civil rights movement, inspiring a new generation of activists to join the cause.

Despite this extraordinary episode, visual culture is rarely included in the history of the modern civil rights movement. For All the World to See is the first comprehensive museum exhibition to explore the historical role played by visual images in shaping, influencing, and transforming the fight for civil rights in the United States. The exhibition is comprised of over 250 objects, including posters, photographs, graphic art, magazines, newspapers, books, pamphlets, political buttons, comic books, toys, postcards, and clips from film, newsreels, and television. Maurice Berger, cultural historian and Research Professor, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County is the curator of the exhibition.

Co-organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.