On January 16, 2021, Mobile Museum of Art brings the iconic photographs by Gordon Parks during the Jim Crow era back to the city where they were captured with the special exhibition, Gordon Parks: Segregation Story in Mobile, 1956.
This exhibition of photographs documents the everyday activities and rituals of one extended black family, the Thorntons, in Mobile and Shady Grove, Alabama, during segregation. The images were originally published in a 1956 photo essay by Parks, an assignment from Life magazine after the Montgomery bus boycotts, but have come to be known around the world for helping to inspire the Civil Rights movement.
In an adjacent gallery, a timeline of Mobile Civil Rights events and African American history spanning 1900 – 2020, compiled by Commissioner Merceria Ludgood and historians Sheila Flanagan and Scotty Kirkland, will also be on view. Commissioner Ludgood says of the project, “The Gordon Parks exhibit and civil rights timeline provide an opportunity for us to commemorate the struggles and sacrifices made by Mobile’s civil rights giants, to reflect on the work that remains to be done and our obligation to build on their legacy.”
Gordon Parks: Segregation Story in Mobile, 1956 is on view at the Mobile Museum of Art from January 16 to September 6, 2021. Opening day will be free to the public, but due to COVID-19 a reception and other programming in various disciplines—film, poetry, visual arts and civil rights history—will be held at a later date.
This exhibition is generously underwritten by Merceria Ludgood, Mobile County Commission District One, with additional support for this project’s educational outreach provided by The Altmayer Charitable Trust. Programming is supported by Mobile City Council members Joel Daves (District 5), Gina Gregory (District 7), Bess Rich (District 6), Frederick D. Richardson, Jr. (District 1), C.J. Small (District 3), and John C. Williams (District 4). Mr. Williams will support a lecture by Dr. John Edwin Mason, author of an upcoming book on Gordon Parks. Operating support for MMofA is provided by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the City of Mobile. For more information, visit www.MobileMuseumofArt.com.