Temporary Exhibition Gives Insight into Social Justice Movement

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center - Wednesday, August 05, 2020

New temporary exhibition, 'A Change is Gonna Come,' goes up at MTCC.Our new, temporary pop-up exhibition, “A Change is Gonna Come: the ongoing march towards equality,” gives a historical perspective to the current Black Lives Matter movement by showcasing historical and current artworks, artifacts, materials and more.

“Worldwide, marches and protests are underway to draw attention to social justice issues that need to be confronted in order toinvoke fundamental changes toward equity for all,” said Christina Shutt, director. “We, at MTCC, want to provide a historical context for the movement and reveal how we as a society got to this moment. The exhibit, ‘A Change is Gonna Come,’ showcases how the African American story is about thriving against insurmountable odds.”

Despite overwhelming obstacles, African Americans have fought for a brighter future. That struggle continues today. At a time in which many Americans desperately long for a return to normalcy, it is important to remember normalcy does not mean the same thing to and for all people.

“A Change is Gonna Come” references the Sam Cooke song of the same name. The song’s theme and refrain, “It’s been a long, long time coming / But, I know that change is gonna come” is repeated throughout the new exhibition.

Artifacts, art and stories in the exhibition include a mixed media piece by Danny Campbell that spotlights Sue Cowan Williams, a Little Rock School teacher and activist who was behind a 1942 class action lawsuit over equal pay for Black teachers. The lawsuit laid the groundwork to challenge segregation at Central High School. A 1957 photograph, “Desegregation of Central High School” by Ernest Withers, captures a moment in which legalized school segregation finally ended.

The exhibition also includes political buttons advocating for equality, historical books by African American authors, sculptures and multiple artworks featuring African American activists, military heroes, politicians and other community leaders. For example, the photograph, “March of the Churches” by Ralph W. Armstrong, III,shows a Civil Rights march in 1967. Nearby, artwork, called “Hidden No More: Fighting Spirit” by artist Rex Deloney, commemorates the bravery of Elbert H. Oliver, an African American Arkansan who served as a steward’s mate in the U.S. Navy and became a nationally recognized World War II hero.

“We hope this exhibition will be a good place for people to learn, respond, reflect and engage with each other and the museum,” Shutt said. “We invite people to explore this exhibit and to share their own stories of protest, courage and recent events that have led up to the current movement.”

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is open with limited hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about the exhibits at MTCC, please call 501-683-3593.


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