Back to Exhibitions

November 22, 2013–May 18, 2014

Nelson-Atkins Building, Gallery 214
Admission is Free.

"In 1952, I was home on leave from the Air Force and went to Kresge's in my uniform for lunch. I took a seat at the front of the lunch counter, and the young lady working there had to get permission from her boss to serve me."
Chester Owens, Historian of Kansas City, KS

This exhibition was created in collaboration with the American Jazz Museum and the Black Archives of Mid- America in Kansas City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in August 1963 and the signing of the Civil Rights Act in June 1964.

It showcases the work of artists and musicians who were pivotal in the struggle for human equality and racial harmony, and those who remain influenced by the movement today.



10 Friday
New Season!
Charlotte Street Artists' Walks
Sonié Joi Ruffin
6 & 7 p.m. | Meet at Info Desk
Join Sonié Joi Ruffin, award winning fabric artist, designer, curator and author as she kicks of the 2014 season of Charlotte Street Artists' Walks with her unique perspective on creative expression and more. Note: All participants attend a brief presentation of the artist's work in Lens 2. Series Continues February 14.

24 Friday
Special Concert
History & Hope: Songs of Celebration!
6–7 p.m. | Kirkwood Hall
The Kansas City Boys Choir and Kansas City Girls Choir present songs in honor of the exhibition History & Hope: Celebrating the Civil Rights Movement. Limited seating available on a first–come, first–served basis.


16 Sunday
Special Film Presentation
My Mother's Club
2:30–5pm | Atkins Auditorium
Local filmmaker Rodney Thompson explores the intriguing world of African American women's social clubs in Kansas City during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, focusing on the integral role and impact they had in social activism and community outreach. A Q&A with filmmaker follows the screening.

20 Thursday
Take 5
7–8 p.m. | Lens 2 Whether it's long or short, some or none, what does your hair say about you? Join curator Catherine Futter; Moses Brings Plenty of Kansas City Indian Center, Cedra Battles, a natural hair "loctician," Leila Cohoon of Leila's Hair Museum, and guest moderator Suzetta Parks of Parks & Pennington, as they elaborate on the cultural significance and artistry of hair. Series continues in March.

Danny Lyon, American (b. 1942). SNCC workers outside the funeral for girls killed at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church: Emma Bell, Dorie Ladner, Dona Richards, Sam Shirah and Doris Derby, Birmingham, 1963. Gelatin silver print (printed 2002–2008), 9 x 13 1/4 inches. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2011.12.21.

Kansas City Remembers
Labels in the exhibition are personal responses and evoked memories by Kansas City artists, musicians and activists. Here are a few samples

"Sure there were days when we wanted to go to places like Fairyland Park, but there was only one day in the summer that they allowed blacks. But my father Jay McShann and his band could play there any day. At that time, we didn't think a lot about it, we didn't get mad about it because we were happy to go that one day."
Jayne McShann, Daughter of Jay McShann

"In law school I joined a group called the Third World Caucus, which consisted of Native American, Latino and African-American law students. One time, when I was on my way to a meeting, a couple of white law students stopped and asked me if they could come along. I didn't see why not. We walked into the room and the meeting stopped. The white students were turned away. That was a lost opportunity to build bridges. Everybody we convert to an attitude of "we're all the same and we're all working together," is one less person we ever have to fear as an enemy."
Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, MO

"What I see today is a lot different. The younger generation doesn't have the same experience of the two Americas that I saw growing up. I see a hope there. Because of what we went through and the people who died before us, younger people today can dream higher. They don't have to stand up and fight for a cause. They can be the progress."
Michael Brantley, Visual Artist

Where the power of art engages the spirit of community
© 2015 The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64111 | 816.751.1278 | Contact Us