Civil Rights Struggle Come to life

By Christine Miyawa
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO – An exhibit of the civil rights struggle and African American culture at the Arkansas State University Museum attracted locals as far as Batesville. The “For all the world to see” exhibits until March 16.

The tour coordinator at the ASU museum, Michelle Friend, said The National Endowment for Humanity together with the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement at ASU organized the traveling exhibit to commemorate the black history month.

Several visuals, including videos, photos, newspaper cut-outs, books, booklets, newsletters, and relics on display, brought the civil rights struggle back in time.

Walking through the museum, the exhibit reveals how television and advertising visuals of the period reflected constant racist visage of blacks in America.

“I remember when this happened, I was a little girl then and there were talks about it in the newspaper. It was a sad moment,”  said Marti Allen, the director of the museum, as she stares at a portrait of Mamie Till Bradley, weeping over the casket of her slain son Emmett Till.

The writings on the portrait said white supremacists murdered Till, a 14-year-old boy, while he visited family members in Mississippi on August 28, 1955. Carolyn Bryant Donham, a white girl, accused Till of touching her hand and waist and using vulgar language. Accusations that Donham later recanted in 2017.

Isaiah Koffi Poku is a junior work-study undergraduate student at the ASU nursing school. He checks-in guests at the museum. While exploring the exhibits on display, he said he realized during the civil struggle positive advertisement only focused on white families. Almost none contained images of black families and if they did, the it was stereotypical. He said he’s glad he can see a lot of changes.

Other items also fill the museum.

“On display, we also have a wildlife exhibit, a war exhibit, a space exhibit and more. The exhibits are always changing. You can come to the museum and learn a different thing every time,” Poku said.

 

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