Opening Day of THIS LIGHT OF OURS—FREE

Date

January 17 (Sunday)
Opening Day of This Light of Ours—FREE
noon–4

Admission to the Museum is free every Sunday thanks to our generous sponsors CrossAmerica Partners and the Gadomski Foundation.

12:30–3:30 p.m.
ArtVentures
Art Ways Interactive Family Gallery

Kids and families can create original works of art together under the direction of a Museum educator in the Crayola Classroom, free. Throughout Art Ways in January, explore how art moves people to act for a better society through the theme “Let It Shine: Activist Art.”

1 p.m.
Panel Discussion: The Photographers of This Light of Ours

Hear the first-person stories behind the dramatic images as the photographers of This Light of Ours convene for a rare panel discussion on their experiences in the 1960s covering the Civil Rights Movement. Moderated by Leslie Kelen, Executive Director of the Center for Documentary Expression and Art, the panel includes photographers Bob Fletcher, Matt Herron, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela, and Tamio Wakayama. Free to all.
 


Bob Fletcher became interested in photography while at Fisk University, during his undergraduate years. He was interested in the work of photographers like Edward Weston, Margaret Bourke-White, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier Bresson, and the documentary photographers of the Farm Security Administration. In 1963, while in graduate school, Bob spent the summer in Harlem as an organizer for the Harlem Education Project (HEP), an affiliate of the Northern Student Movement. While there he began to photograph life on the streets of Harlem and HEP activities, and at the end of the summer he decided to take a year off from school to continue working with HEP. He decided that he would spend the summer of 1964 as a volunteer for the Mississippi Summer Project. In Mississippi he met Matt Heron and the other photographers Matt had organized into the Southern Documentary Project (SDP), as well as Cliff Vaughs, who was covering the Summer Project for SNCC Photo, the media arm of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which Matt and his wife, Jeannine, helped organize.

 


Matt Herron
has been a photojournalist since 1962, and his pictures have appeared in virtually every major picture magazine in the world. Based in Mississippi in the early 1960s, he covered the Civil Rights struggle for Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, and the Saturday Evening Post, as well as providing pictures for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1964 he founded and directed the Southern Documentary Project, a team of five photographers that attempted to document the process of social change in the South. In 1965 he won the World Press Photo Contest for a civil rights photograph. Recently he curated This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, which opened in Salt Lake City in October 2011. His one-man exhibition, Civil Rights Under Three Hats: The Photography of Matt Herron, is currently traveling across the country.

 


Herbert Eugene Randall Jr.
was born on December 16, 1936, in Bronx, New York. Randall began studying with renowned photographer Harold Feinstein, an artist known for his black-and-white documentary photography. The following year, Randall worked as a freelance photographer for a variety of media organizations, including Black Star, United Press International, and the Associated Press. In 1963, Randall founded an African American photographer’s workshop called the Kamoinge Workshop in New York City, New York.

 


Maria Varela
has been a community organizer for nearly forty years, beginning in 1962 when she joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Assigned to Selma, Alabama, Varela's job was to teach literacy. Instead she found herself a student of the rich African American culture of the black-belt South. Dissatisfied with existing literacy materials, Varela began to create filmstrips and photo books that proved useful both in training community leaders and teaching literacy. Varela is the first Latina woman to document the civil rights struggle in the black-belt south. For the last three decades her work has been included in books and photo exhibits featured in galleries and museums, including the Smithsonian.
Tamio Wakayama is a Nisei writer and photographer born on April 3, 1941. His life during World War II was spent in Tashme Internment camp for Japanese Canadians. Wakayama joined the civil rights movement as a member of SNCC and worked in the deep South from 1963 to 1964. Returning to the West Coast in 1975, he worked with fellow Nikkei in Vancouver to produce an exhibit and book entitled A Dream of Riches: The Japanese Canadians 1877–1977. Mr. Wakayama has exhibited his work and published extensively, including his works Signs of Life and Kikyo: Coming Home to Powell Street.
 

 


Tamio Wakayama
is a Nisei writer and photographer born on April 3, 1941. His life during World War II was spent in Tashme Internment camp for Japanese Canadians. Wakayama joined the civil rights movement as a member of SNCC and worked in the deep South from 1963 to 1964. Returning to the West Coast in 1975, he worked with fellow Nikkei in Vancouver to produce an exhibit and book entitled A Dream of Riches: The Japanese Canadians 1877–1977. Mr. Wakayama has exhibited his work and published extensively, including his works Signs of Life and Kikyo: Coming Home to Powell Street.

 

Leslie Kelen (moderator), executive director of the Center for Documentary Expression and Art, oversaw the creation of This Light of Ours. Kelen was born in Budapest, Hungary, and immigrated to the United States in 1959 with his parents, grandmother, and younger sister. He is the coauthor of five books, including This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement (University Press of Mississippi, 2011), and two chapbooks of poetry.