For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Tom Moore is Director of Art Management at UMBC.

Reflections on the power of the civil rights movement will be front and center this year at UMBC as we open a major exhibition and continue our engagement through lectures, discussions and performances.

On November 15, UMBC’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) opens the first comprehensive museum exhibition to explore the historic role played by visual images in shaping, influencing, and transforming the fight for civil rights in the United States. For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights was organized by the CADVC in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and was curated by UMBC Research Professor Maurice Berger.

Ernest C. Withers, Sanitation Workers Assemble in Front of Clayborn Temple for a Solidarity March, Memphis, TN, March 28, 1968
Gelatin silver print; Image: 8 1⁄2 x 14 3⁄4 in.; Paper: 16 x 20 in.; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Museum Purchase, © Ernest C. Withers, Courtesy Panopticon Gallery, Boston MA

Through a host of media—including photographs, television and film, magazines, newspapers, posters, books, and pamphlets—the project explores fight for racial equality and justice from the late-1940s to the mid-1970s. For All the World to See includes a traveling exhibition, website, online film festival, and richly illustrated companion book. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, UMBC’s Humanities Forum will present a number of events that explore and expand on the themes presented in the exhibition.

For All the World to See has already traveled to the International Center of Photography in New York, the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. After opening here in November, the exhibition will remain on display through March 10, when it travels to the Addison Gallery of American Art outside Boston.

Contact the author, Tom Moore, at


  1. Delana Gregg says:

    I’m especially looking forward to this event: (Julian Bond, Freeman Hrabowski and Taylor Branch!)

    Wednesday, December 5, 4:00 p.m.
    Performing Arts and Humanities Proscenium Theater

    “The Civil Rights Movement from the Ground Up”
    Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
    Julian Bond, civil rights activist and former chairman, NAACP
    Andrew B. Lewis, author of ”The Shadows of Youth: The Remarkable Journey of the Civil Rights Generation”

    Learn about the unsung young men and women who were at the forefront of the civil rights movement, in particular those in SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which grew out of the 1960 sit ins by African-American college students. Julian Bond, one of the founders of SNCC and later chairman of the NAACP, Andrew Lewis, the author of The Shadows of Youth: The Story of the Civil Rights Generation, and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, who participated in the Birmingham Children’s March of 1963, will discuss the crucial–often underappreciated–role youth and college students played in the movement

    Moderator: Taylor Branch

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