This summer, the High Museum of Art will premiere “Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Children’s Books” (June 20–Sept. 20, 2020), an exhibition organized in collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
The exhibition is the first of its kind to delve into the events, people and themes of the civil rights movement, both celebrated and forgotten, through one of the most compelling forms of visual expression, the children’s picture book. The more than 80 artworks on view, ranging from paintings and prints to collages and drawings, will evoke the power and continuing relevance of the era that shaped American history and continues to reverberate today.
The year 2020 marks the anniversary of several key events from the civil rights movement. Sixty-five years ago, in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Ruby Bridges integrated her New Orleans elementary school, and four black students catalyzed the sit-in movement at the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
These actions and more are explored in the exhibition with titles by beloved children’s book authors and artists as well as talented newcomers. “Picture the Dream” will emphasize children’s roles as activists and tell important stories about the movement’s icons, including Parks, Bridges, Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“One of the guiding aspects of our mission is a commitment to family audiences. Through our children’s book exhibitions, we aim to help adult visitors open meaningful dialogues with the children in their lives and create memories that will last a lifetime,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “This exhibition will spark important conversations across generations about a crucial period in our nation’s history that connects directly to our city, a birthplace of the civil rights movement.”
The exhibition will be organized into three thematic sections that explore the forces that sparked the civil rights movement, its key players and events, and stories about the reemergence of activism in contemporary America. From Brown v. Board of Education and the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the March on Washington and Black Lives Matter, the picture books’ topics bridge the past and present, emphasizing how historical moments and leaders continue to inspire the struggle for equal rights.Continue reading