(Current 2021 exhibition)

Civil Rights refers to “The rights belonging to an individual by virtue of citizenship,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary. They include civil liberties, equal protection of the laws and freedom from racial, ethic, or religious discrimination. Each of the Americans featured here has championed the rights of the individual and pioneered the way to greater equality within the United States. These heroes of the civil rights movement, men and women of courage and conviction, span the 19th and 20th centuries. Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr led the movement toward equal treatment for African Americans. Cesar Chavez petitioned for fair wages and good working conditions for farm workers. Wilma Mankiller became the first woman Chief of a Native American tribe. Mary McLeod Bethune was a pioneer in education and tireless civil rights spokesperson. Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American who was imprisoned during World War II, challenged his arrest and fought to have his conviction overturned. Attaining civil rights has been a long and hard fought series of legal battles that continues even today. In his 1963 March on Washington speech, Dr. King perhaps summarized it best “I have a dream that one day this national will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

NB. The content for the exhibition was taken from an exhibition which was donated to the Luthuli Museum from the US Consulate Durban.