It was 1968, and Vietnam War protestors at the Democratic National Convention chanted the phrase The whole world is watching in an effort to pressure politicians to withdraw from the conflict. More than 40 years later, the phrase is being used in the title of an exhibition of photographs from that time The Whole World Was Watching: Civil Rights Era Photographs from Edmund Carpenter and Adelaide de Menil.
The work is extremely compelling. People were seeing for the first time the atrocities of how African Americans were being treated in the South, says Michelle White, one of the curators for the exhibit. Photography at this moment in history was, in many ways, for the first time being vastly distributed. Activists, from the Vietnam War activists to the civil rights activists, were really harnessing the media for the first time.
White had more than 230 images to choose from, a task she admits was daunting. I was looking for works that dont necessarily document specific moments but that hold the most emotional content. I was looking for images of police brutality, images of people singing freedom songs, showing the struggles and also showing the victories.
The exhibit is located at two sites, each showing different images. Theres an opening reception 2 to 4 p.m. March 5 at the African-American Library at the Gregory School. Regular viewing hours there are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Through September 25. 1300 Victor Street. For information, call 832-393-1440 or visit www.thegregoryschool.org. Free.
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Theres also an opening reception 4 to 6 p.m. on March 5 at The Menil Collection. Regular viewing hours there are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Through September 25. 1515 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-525-9400 or visit www.menil.org. Free.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: March 5. Continues through Sept. 25, 2011