‘I AM A MAN’: New 1960s art exhibition launches at LCVA

Published 10:39 am Friday, August 25, 2023

The 1960s was a momentous time for the civil rights movement in the American South. It was an historic decade that unleashed both hope for the future and profound change as public spaces were desegregated and African Americans secured their right to vote. If you step into the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA), you’ll be able to see some of this displayed through their latest exhibition, I AM A MAN. 

The project focuses on photos of the Civil Rights movement taken during the 1960s from amateurs, local photographers and some that are internationally known. Together they provide a visual story of the evolution of the civil rights movement and shed light on the movement’s integration in daily living in the American South.

Curator William Ferris, Southern folklorist and author, said he worked with his research team to seek out photos taken in the heat of the civil rights movement. Many of the photographs of protestors seated at segregated lunch counters or carrying signs with messages like “I Am A Man” are immediately recognizable as iconic images associated with the movement. The exhibition includes key events such as James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi, Ku Klux Klan gatherings, the Selma Montgomery March in Alabama, the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Martin Luther King’s funeral, the Poor People’s Campaign, and the Mule Train.

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I AM A Man has been adapted from an exhibition originally produced for the Pavillon Populaire in Montpellier, France, by the Center for Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The French exhibition was funded by the City of Montpellier and administered by Gilles Mora, director of the Pavillion Populaire.

What is the LCVA?

The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts presents a rotating program of exhibitions. Admission to LCVA and its programs is — and always has been — free for all. It is located at the intersection of Main and Third Streets (129 North Main Street) in Farmville, Virginia. For additional information on these exhibitions or other programs and events, contact LCVA at 434.395.2206 or visit LCVA’s website by clicking here.

There will be an opening reception for this exhibit on Friday, Sept. 8 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

The LCVA welcomes the community to an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 8 from 5:30 – 8 pm. It will be on view from Sept. 1 to Oct. 20.