New Exhibit Tackles Jim Crow Repression and Resistance

By Sameer Rao Jun 27, 2018

In recognition of the 150 years since the ratification of the 14th Amendment, New York City’s oldest museum will launch a new exhibit about Black disenfranchisement and empowerment following the Civil War. 

The New-York Historical Society announced the September 2018 opening of Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow today (June 27). According to an emailed statement, the exhibit will cover the years between the Civil War and World War I. It seeks to highlight how African Americans survived Jim Crow and built a resistance that led to the Civil Rights Movement. 

The exhibit will include several key art pieces and artifacts, including a painting of Dred Scott, a formerly enslaved couple’s marriage certificate and Ida B. Wells‘ "Southern Horrors." “The exhibition also looks at how housing segregation in Manhattan eventually led to community-building in Harlem, where local individuals and organizations laid the foundation for the Harlem Renaissance, with a focus on the area around Harlem’s important 135th Street nexus, including Black churches," the statement adds.

The New-York Historical Society developed Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow in collaboration with Dr. Henry Louis Gates and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The National Endowment for the Humanities and New York City Council contributed funds for the exhibit. 

"I recognize the urgent mission of cultural organizations to shed light on the persistent implications of slavery and racism on our nation’s institutions and our individual lived experiences," Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of NMAAHC, said in the announcement. "I am heartened that the New-York Historical Society has committed to educating the public on these complex issues in New York, and I look forward to continued partnership."

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow will run September 2018 through February 2019, then tour museums across the country. The tour sites were not available at press time. This is the first of several exhibits on Black culture that the Historical Society has planned for 2018 and 2019. Future projects include collections that explore the work of the Black Arts Movement and sculptor Augusta Savage.