On September 23, 1957, nine African American students entered Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas – initiating the first important test of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to riots led by white residents, President Dwight D. Eisenhower mobilized the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to Little Rock. Americans across the country watched events unfold on their television screens. Georgians considered the fate of their own public school system.
How did the Little Rock Crisis shape politics, policy, and public response to federal directives to desegregate? How have public schools changed since Little Rock? The Russell Library invites you to consider these questions in two new exhibits now on display:
Measuring Deliberate Speed: Georgians Face School Desegregation is the culmination of a year of research and planning by staff at the Russell Library. The exhibit was created to showcase materials from the collections that illuminate and explain the tactics, rhetoric, and reactions of Georgians to federal school desegregation mandates. Using text panels, artifacts, and selected audio and film clips, the display examines the landmark federal and state legal decisions that led to the desegregation of public schools in Georgia between 1950 and 1961.
With All Deliberate Speed: The AP in Little Rock, created by the Associated Press Corporate Archives, serves as a companion exhibit that explores how the news agency prepared for and covered Little Rock and its reverberations throughout the South. The AP had never faced a more difficult test of its mission to serve all members equally with objective, timely reporting than it did covering desegregation in Little Rock. Using news clippings, photographs, and correspondence, this exhibit captures a moment in time and demonstrates the legacy this event created for journalists everywhere.
These exhibits are currently open to visitors! An informal opening event will take place on Thursday, October 8th from 3:00-6:00PM. This event is free and open to all. The Russell Library is located on the West side of the Main Library on the University of Georgia campus. For directions and parking information, please visit http://www.libs.uga.edu/directions.html or call 706-542-5788.
Both exhibits will remain on display at the Russell Library until February 28, 2010. Russell Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30 p.m. Admission is free. In addition to the collections of the Russell Library and the Associated Press Corporate Archives, Measuring Deliberate Speed was supplemented with materials from the archival collections of the Hargrett Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, and the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies.
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