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The Observer

Civil Rights exhibit educates Central students

Ray Payne, Staff Reporter

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This past week the Center for Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) created a Civil Rights Exhibit in the SURC to educate students on the civil rights movement and its connection with today.

“It’s really just about educating Central’s population,” said Gianni Glover, senior social services major and program organizer for the CDSJ.

Glover had a primary role in organizing and setting up the exhibit along with Jordan Todd, senior double major in sociology and law and justice, who gathered information for the exhibit.

The exhibit was aiming to get the attention of Central’s entire student body to educate those who may have not received an in-depth or accurate lesson on the civil rights movement.

Parts of the exhibit included a showing of the movie “Freedom Riders,” as well as an area designed to look like a classroom with information on segregation in public schools, examples of Jim Crow laws and literacy tests, “The Willie Lynch Letter” and a section on lynching with graphic photographs and examples.

Central’s library assisted the exhibit by providing information and materials for the exhibit, detailing Central’s history with the civil rights movement.

Several sources were also consulted in the creation of the exhibit, including museums in both Seattle and Atlanta.

Although attendance seemed to be relatively low, the exhibit received praise from those who visited it.

“Personally, I liked the exhibit. I thought it was quite a bit informative,” said Alexis Edwards, freshman undecided. “We didn’t get to see that much of African American history [in K-12 education].”

Edwards noted that she in particular liked the school section of the exhibit.

She said it gave her insight into the differences between black schools and white schools at the time and how black schools seemed to worsen while white schools improved. Something that typically isn’t focused on in public school education.

“Going through the exhibit, you’ll learn more about other people besides MLK and Malcolm X and Rosa Parks…you’ll learn more deeper than them and who was doing some of the same things but just didn’t get the same credit,” Glover said. “Most of us who put that exhibit on been through the public school system and so we know that you don’t get that knowledge.”

One slightly controversial portion of the exhibit was the section on lynching in the U.S.

The section displayed photographs of dead black people that had been shot, hanged  or mutilated.

Two items that stuck out and elicited strong responses from attendees were the noose that hung from above and the KKK robe and headwear that was on display.

“When I first walked into that room I got chills,”  Edwards said.

Also included in the section on lynching were pictures and information on some of the black people who were involved in recent shootings including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.

“I feel like they’re just saying not much has changed, like we’re just going about it differently,” Edwards said. “Black people aren’t getting the justice white people are getting, so I feel like that’s what they were getting at.”

Some criticized the room for its graphic nature. The photographs and objects on display triggered strong emotions in some individuals that others felt were unnecessary for the exhibit.

“A lot of people felt offended,” Glover said. “And they’re like, ‘oh you don’t have to go to this extreme to prove a point.’”

Glover made it clear that the exhibit was to convey the reality of the situation that was occurring at the time.

“If it makes you feel uncomfortable, then I did my job. Because the person who was on the other end of that noose felt uncomfortable, the black daughter, the husband, the black wife,” Glover said. “You’re just looking at it, so imagine how they felt.”

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Civil Rights exhibit educates Central students