This new installation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King and other heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Poignant scenes captured by Memphis photographer Ernest Withers include protest signs from the Civil Rights era and powerful broadsides from the Abolitionist Movement recall incredible campaigns for human liberty. These visible signs are reminders of organized peaceful resistance, including sit-ins, freedom rides, strikes, boycotts, marches and other actions to acquire citizenship rights.
Signs of Freedom is a prelude to Freedom Rising, a yearlong exhibit and programming commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the first black soldiers from the north to serve in the Civil War.
Dr. King asserted that two documents are essential to the nation, American identity and this democracy. The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, provided the foundation for freedom from Great Britain and national ideals.
The Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863, declared all persons enslaved in states in rebellion free.