Birmingham Public Library Has New Art Exhibit Commemorating the Civil Rights Movement

A special exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in Birmingham will be shown in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the Central Library, Wednesday, November 6 to Friday, December 27, 2013. A reception will be held on Saturday, November 9, 3:00-5:00 p.m. The gallery and reception are free and open to the public.

Fairfield, Alabama resident Dr. William E. Colvin curated the exhibit, known as Birmingham 2013: Remembering the Movement that Changed the World. It proposes that the dreams of freedom and civil liberty that African Americans had 50 years are now realities. Nearly 50 pieces created by more than 25 artists from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida highlight historic moments such as the 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, marches in Kelly Ingram Park, and more. “These compositions are created to memorialize the Birmingham civil rights movement and celebrate the liberties and freedoms of all citizens,’’ said Dr. Colvin, who is an art professor emeritus for Illinois State University. Most of the pieces will be for sale.

Two of Dr. Colvin’s works are in the exhibit. They include The Visionist, an acrylic painting of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Diane Nash Paying the Price of a Sit-In, a watercolor depiction of a young woman in a jail cell.

Works by other artists cover a wide variety of styles. Marcella Muhammad’s work, The Sixteenth Street Ambiguity, shows the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bomb-damaged stained glass window with the face of Jesus missing. There are three pieces by award-winning artist Dr. Art Bacon of Talladega, Alabama. One is called Anniston Incident, which is a powerful collage and acrylic painting of when Dr. Bacon, then a senior at Talladega College, was badly beaten for sitting in the “wrong” area of the Anniston train depot. The collage includes acrylic paints, photographs of the station, typed and handwritten versions of a poem by Dr. Bacon about the attack, and a 1961 yearbook article.

Other artists in the exhibit can be found at