Arts

Atlanta History Center Exhibit Focuses On Overlooked History Of Black Citizenship In America

Eugene Bullard was the first African American combat aviator, fighting in World War I for the French Infantry and Air Service. He had fled his hometown of Columbus, Georgia, at age 12, after surviving a racist attack on his family. He stowed away on a ship, eventually settling in Paris, where he lived for 30 years. Wounded and unable to return to field combat while serving in the French Foreign Legion’s Infantry in 1916, he received his French pilot license the next year.
Eugene Bullard was the first African American combat aviator, fighting in World War I for the French Infantry and Air Service. He had fled his hometown of Columbus, Georgia, at age 12, after surviving a racist attack on his family. He stowed away on a ship, eventually settling in Paris, where he lived for 30 years. Wounded and unable to return to field combat while serving in the French Foreign Legion’s Infantry in 1916, he received his French pilot license the next year.
Credit Courtesy of National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The history of African Americans in the South is often focused on two events: the Civil War and the civil rights movement.

The Atlanta History Center is trying to focus on the time period between those years of discrimination.

The center’s new exhibit, “Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, Exploring African American Struggle for Full Citizenship and Equality,” analyzes this frequently overlooked aspect of American history. The exhibit will feature several artists from Hale Aspacio Woodruff to Mark Hewitt.

“The artists being featured, all were focused on their experiences as African Americans and the contradictions and being deeply invested in their Americanness and yet troubled, to say the least,” said the Atlanta History Center’s vice president of historical interpretation and community partnerships, Calinda Lee.

The exhibit was created by the New York Historical Society in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Lee wanted to showcase the exhibit along with locally relevant materials collected from the History Center, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, High Museum and the Georgia Museum of Art.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend will feature a “Meet The Past” museum theater performance, historical simulations and a 45-minute performance of Addae Moon’s “Walking Through the Valley.” The Atlanta History Center will also be open and free to the public on MLK Day.

The exhibit will run through June 30.

 

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