08.24.2013 - 12.01.2013

Network of Mutuality: 50 Years Post-Birmingham

Levine Museum of the New South presents Network of Mutuality: 50 Years Post-Birmingham, an exhibit featuring provocative works by leading contemporary artists and designers, who carefully examine the various social conditions and components that energized the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, as well as continue the dialogue of race and equality in today's society.

The United States was at a pivotal juncture in 1963. It was then that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. faithfully led a coalition of Civil Rights organizations in a peaceful and non-violent campaign targeting Birmingham, Alabama, a place then described as the “most segregated city in America.” After being jailed for his participation in the protests, Dr. King penned a response to eight clergymen who were critical of his involvement. That response came to be known as Letter from Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963, where he outlined that direct participatory action was a moral imperative in order to overcome injustice.

In that letter, Dr. King wrote: "I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Almost fifty years later, issues ranging from racial profiling to stereotyping, bleed through despite living in a “post-racial” era. And, yet, there still tends to be a continued collective resistance to discuss such issues more openly.

Network of Mutuality: 50 Years Post-Birmingham brings together works that address the injustices of 1963 and contrast today’s contentious-yet-critical issues of race, representation, and otherness. The exhibit is organized by The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland, College Park. It is made possible by support from the Maryland State Arts Council and David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora.


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