Special Exhibition on Black Citizenship in the Jim Crow Era Explores Hard Truth of Post-Slavery from Reconstruction to World War I, Opening July 20 at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

DALLAS (June 27, 2023) — The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is pleased to announce a new special exhibition, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, opening to the public on July 20, 2023, exploring the life of Black Americans in the 50 years following the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

Organized by the New-York Historical Society, this exhibition takes visitors from the Civil War to the end of World War I and examines how Black Americans advocated for equal rights in a hostile system, showcasing artifacts, photographs, and media to illustrate these transformative decades in American history and their continued relevance.

“This exhibition will provide visitors with valuable insights into the difficult circumstances faced by African Americans in the post-slavery era as the nation struggled to make emancipation and true equality a reality,” said Mary Pat Higgins, Museum president and CEO. “I believe this exhibition will help anchor the ongoing civil rights conversation in the minds and hearts of our visitors as they take what they learn from the Museum out into the world to become Upstanders in their own communities.”

By 1868, slavery had been abolished and all persons born in the United States were citizens and equal before the law. Efforts to create an interracial democracy, however, were contested from the start, and a harsh backlash ensued, ushering in the “separate but equal” age of Jim Crow during which a system of second-class citizenship and racial segregation was put in place across the nation. Black Citizenship concludes with an exploration of Black military service during World War I and the struggle for equality in the decades to follow.

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow tells this harrowing story of the fight for equality through a variety of artifacts, including:

– A portrait of Dred Scott (ca. 1857), the Missouri slave who sued for his freedom and lost after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that no Black person, free or enslaved, could ever be a U.S. citizen;

– Slave shackles (1866), cut from the ankles of 17-year-old Mary Horn, who was held captive even after slavery was abolished the year before, until her fiancé asked for help from a Union soldier who removed the chains and married the couple;

– Uncle Ned’s School (1866), a sculpture by artist John Rogers depicting an improvised classroom created by African Americans during Reconstruction;

– A World War I toy soldier diorama featuring African American troops in the 369th Infantry Regiment known as the “Harlem Hellfighters”; and

– Maquette for artist Kara Walker’s Katastwóf Karavan (2017), a 2018 public sculpture installed at Algiers Point, New Orleans, featuring provocative silhouettes that depict slavery and racial stereotypes.

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is grateful for the generous support of this special exhibition from anchor sponsors Amazon, Debbie and Ron Greene, Humanities Texas, Nissan Foundation, and Texas Capital. Additional support is provided by Match Group, Bank of Texas, Larry Ginsburg, transportation sponsor NFI, and airline sponsor American Airlines.

Lead support for the organization of the exhibition was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and major support was provided by the Ford Foundation and Crystal McRary and Raymond J. McGuire. Made possible locally in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The exhibition will remain on view until December 31, 2023.

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About the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
The mission of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Founded in 1984 by local Holocaust survivors, the institution now resides in a new building in downtown Dallas where visitors experience a deeper immersion into the history of the Holocaust, human and civil rights, their centrality to our democracy, and their vital importance in preventing events like those of the Holocaust from happening again. The 55,000-square-foot permanent home covers three floors, and the main exhibition includes four wings that teach about the Holocaust, the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after World War II, historical and contemporary genocides, and America’s civil rights journey. Please visit DHHRM.org or call (214) 741-7500 for more information.

About New-York Historical Society
Experience 400 years of history through groundbreaking exhibitions, immersive films, and thought-provoking conversations among renowned historians and public figures at the New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum. A great destination for history since 1804, the Museum and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library convey the stories of the city and nation’s diverse populations, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we came to be. Ever-rising to the challenge of bringing little or unknown histories to light, New-York Historical will soon inaugurate a new annex housing its Academy for American Democracy as well as the American LGBTQ+ Museum. These latest efforts to help forge the future by documenting the past join New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum and Center for Women’s History. Digital exhibitions, apps, and our For the Ages podcast make it possible for visitors everywhere to dive more deeply into history. Connect with us at nyhistory.org or at @nyhistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, and Tumblr.

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