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Historical Exhibit Takes Library Customers 50 Years Back and '50 Years Forward'

By: Marcey Evans

If the streets of Memphis and Alabama could talk, they might tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement, which occurred in part on that very pavement. Social injustice, marches for equality, and subsequent conflict would undoubtedly depict the tale along with the civil rights leaders who led peaceful protests.

Director of Libraries Keenon McCloy and Birmingham Mayor William Bell take time to admire the Civil Rights exhibit at the Central Library.This story, which lives in the minds of those who experienced it firsthand, is the subject of exhibit “50 Years Forward,” a traveling display from Birmingham, Alabama commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement there. The exhibit is on display in the Goodwyn Gallery of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library now through April 24, 2013 for the public to enjoy.

Illustrating photos of Dr. King in a Birmingham jail and a uniform of Birmingham police to information on civil rights leader Medgar Evers, the Beckwith Conviction, and the “White press” of that day, the exhibit recaps America’s history with photos, videos, and actual items from the historical movement.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton offers a word of thanks to Birmingham Mayor William Bell for bringing the Civil Rights exhibit to Memphis as Bell looks on.The mayors of Memphis and Birmingham, among several others, gathered at the Central Library to celebrate the exhibit’s opening and to discuss its significance. “We cannot change the past,” noted Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, “but at least we can do our parts in making sure we never ever forget it. We’re going to walk and sing and pray our way to a new day,” Wharton added reflecting on the historical events that shaped America’s history and the world.

“Take time to honor the past by honoring the present and taking advantage of the future,” advised Birmingham Mayor William Bell. “We have too many young people taking too many things for granted. It took a rainbow of people coming together to change the world and to create a new day in the South. The Civil Rights Movement was the movement that changed the world,” he said.

For more information on the “50 Years Forward” exhibit at the Central Library, call (901) 415-2700.

 The '50 Years Forward' Exhibit shows real-life examples of the Civil Rights Era in America.    The "50 Years Forward" Exhibit flashes back to the past, displaying familiar faces from the Civil Rights Movement on the cover of Time Magazine.