We Hold These Truths

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center - Wednesday, October 07, 2020

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) unveiled its new exhibition, “We Hold These Truths: American Veterans of Arkansas,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, during a livestream, virtual event on Facebook.

“This exhibit is important to MTCC because it highlights the rarely told stories of Arkansas’s African American veterans, many of whom served abroad while being denied basic rights at home,” said Christina Shutt, director.

Artist Ed Drew, left, and Dr. Krewasky Salter, right, will speak during the live virtual event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, on Facebook.Little Rock photographer Ed Drew, who is also a veteran, has been working on the project for more than a year. The exhibition includes about 30 tintype photos of African American veterans in addition to a handful of cyanotypes printed from silver gelatin glass plate negatives and typed letters from Arkansas Confederate soldiers who wrote home during the Civil War. The exhibition is meant to juxtapose art, time spans and racial trajectories in Arkansas.

The exhibition spotlights issues and stories of African American veterans in Arkansas. More than 200,000 veterans live in Arkansas, and about 23,000 are Black, according to the most-recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

"It’s the history of this country, and for me, most importantly, it’s the history of African American veterans who are rarely spoken about,” Drew said.

Special Speaker Dr. Krewasky Salter held a Q&A with Drew to talk about military and Black history and the impact of art. Salter, who was a guest curator for the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, served more than 25 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a colonel in 2010. After the military, he spent nearly two years in the civilian executive arena as chief of staff and strategic capture manager for a large government contracting firm. Salter earned his Ph.D. in History and has done extensive academic work in the Strategic Studies and Political Science arenas. He is a published author and consultant for a Public Broadcasting Station Award Winning Documentary.

The opening event was virtual, but museum visitors may also view the exhibition in person through February 2021. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 501 W. 9th St. in Little Rock. For more information, call 501-683-3593.

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