Arts

High Museum Remembers 1968 With Civil Rights Photography Exhibit

Sanitation Workers Strike in Memphis, Tennessee on March 28, 1968.
Sanitation Workers Strike in Memphis, Tennessee on March 28, 1968.
Credit Ernest Withers

Next year will mark 50 years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And the High Museum is looking back at that tumultuous year in American history with an exhibit of photography called “A Fire That No Water Can Put Out.”

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“I really wanted to have his message come through strongly and not have it be somber,” said Erin Nelson, the High Museum’s curatorial assistant and curator of this exhibition. “I wanted to think about how although some consider 1968 a closing bookend to Civil Rights, so much activism in the intervening years has shown the way the Dr. King’s message has endured and that in fact, it was really a beginning.”

The exhibit takes its title from Dr. King’s last speech before his assassination and will feature 40 photographs from the High Museum’s collection, including some by Gordon Parks, Charles Moore, Steve Shapiro, and Atlanta’s own Doris Derby and Sheila Pree Bright.

“City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with Nelson about the photos, Dr. King’s legacy and the High Museum’s collection of Civil Rights photography. “A Fire That No Water Can Put Out” opens Nov. 4 and will be on view through May 27.