EXHIBITIONS

Amistad has several digital exhibitions featured by the Google Cultural Institute. Exhibitions explore a wide array of topics from the print culture of the Civil Rights Movement, to the intersection of art & activism from the Free Southern Theater, to the American MIssionary Association's devotion to the education of African Americans in the post-Civil War South. These exhibitions are supported in part by the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and celebrate Amistad and Google's resolute commitment to providing access to African American collections.

Online Exhibitions
 
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
The Things We Do For Ourselves
The Free Southern Theater
Education for Liberation

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Current Exhibitions

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our exhibition gallery is currently closed.

Selections from Past Exhibitions
I Know Them as People, Not as Figures: Narratives and Images of American Immigration

September 23, 2019 - March 31, 2020

According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. foreign-born population reached a record 44.4 million in 2017 with immigrants accounting for 13.6% of the U.S. population. While numbers are important in understanding immigration policy, they do not tell the whole story. The story of immigration is a collection of individual life stories, not figures. Each story of immigration is a personal one. The phrase “I know them as people, not as figures” is taken from a letter written by Japanese émigré Tsuyoshi Matsumoto while detained in Alabama in 1942 and preserved at the Amistad Research Center.

African American Beauty Culture from the Politics of Respectability to Black is Beautiful

April 1, 2019 - August 2, 2019

As early as the 19th century and into the 20th century, African American beauty standards often mirrored those of mainstream society believing that such practices would assist in the dissolution of racism and intolerance. The Civil Rights Movement and the 1960s saw traditional hairstyles and modes of dress challenged by young Black activists and artists who critiqued practices that negated Black people’s facial features, skin tones, and hair textures. They created a sociopolitical movement that celebrated Black Power and coined phrases such as Black is Beautiful. Over a ten-year period, Black women’s beauty products and style of dress reflected this Black cultural movement. 

‘A Peculiarly Segregated City...’: The Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans

November 5, 2018 - February 28, 2019

New Orleans celebrated its tricentennial in 2018 and its residents have had much time to reflect upon the historical timeline of one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. In what ways is New Orleans unique and how does it fit into larger historical narratives? Historian and civil rights scholar Kim Lacy Rogers called New Orleans “a peculiarly segregated city” in the 1950s. However, while examinations of the Civil Rights Movement often focus on cities and events outside of Louisiana, the fight for equality, access, and freedom has a long history in New Orleans.

The Things We Do For Ourselves: African American Civic Leadership in the Crescent City

June 11, 2018 - September 28, 2018

New Orleans is a city with a rich history of Black civic leadership. From benevolent associations to activism in the Civil Rights Movement and from education reform to business entrepreneurship, the Crescent City has benefited from leading individuals and organizations in its African American community. Drawing from Amistad's rich archival and library collections, this exhibition documented New Orleans’ leaders in the areas of business, education, philanthropy, medicine, and civic engagement from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century.

British track and field athlete Harry F.V. Edward being congratulated by King George V prior to Edwa

British track and field athlete Harry F.V. Edward being congratulated by King George V prior to Edwa

British track and field athlete Harry F.V. Edward being congratulated by King George V prior to Edward’s immigration to the United States.

Daguerreotype photograph of Barnabas Root while in the United States.

Daguerreotype photograph of Barnabas Root while in the United States.

Daguerreotype photograph of Barnabas Root while in the United States.

Miss Baharian with group of Kindergarten children, Ellis Island, 1921

Miss Baharian with group of Kindergarten children, Ellis Island, 1921

Miss Baharian with group of Kindergarten children, Ellis Island, 1921

Italian immigrant family, East side New York, 1915

Italian immigrant family, East side New York, 1915

Italian immigrant family, East side New York, 1915

Undated photograph of Japanese émigré Tsuyoshi Matsumoto. Courtesy of Helen Kagan

Undated photograph of Japanese émigré Tsuyoshi Matsumoto. Courtesy of Helen Kagan

Undated photograph of Japanese émigré Tsuyoshi Matsumoto. Courtesy of Helen Kagan.

Russian immigrants. Ellis Island, NY circa 1917

Russian immigrants. Ellis Island, NY circa 1917

Russian immigrants. Ellis Island, NY circa 1917

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Publicity still from the film 'Imitation of Life' with Louise Beavers and Fredi Washington, 1934.

Publicity still from the film 'Imitation of Life' with Louise Beavers and Fredi Washington, 1934.

Publicity still from the film 'Imitation of Life' with Louise Beavers and Fredi Washington, 1934.

Advertisement for House of Shango in Newark, New Jersey

Advertisement for House of Shango in Newark, New Jersey

Advertisement for House of Shango in Newark, New Jersey

Untitled metallic print on poster board by “Porter”, undated.

Untitled metallic print on poster board by “Porter”, undated.

Untitled metallic print on poster board by “Porter”, undated.

Advertisement from February 1950 issue of 'Ebony'.

Advertisement from February 1950 issue of 'Ebony'.

Advertisement from February 1950 issue of 'Ebony'.

Image from June 1966 issue of 'Ebony'.

Image from June 1966 issue of 'Ebony'.

Image from June 1966 issue of 'Ebony'.

Front cover of Don Lee’s poetry collection 'For Black People (And Negroes Too)'.

Front cover of Don Lee’s poetry collection 'For Black People (And Negroes Too)'.

Front cover of Don Lee’s poetry collection 'For Black People (And Negroes Too)'.

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Pushback pins from the New Orleans branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

Pushback pins from the New Orleans branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

Pushback pins from the New Orleans branch of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

Flyer - "to all responsible citizens of Greater New Orleans", 1963.

Flyer - "to all responsible citizens of Greater New Orleans", 1963.

Flyer - "to all responsible citizens of Greater New Orleans", 1963.

Ernest Morial speaking at the 1963 Civil Rights March on New Orleans City Hall.

Ernest Morial speaking at the 1963 Civil Rights March on New Orleans City Hall.

Ernest Morial speaking at the 1963 Civil Rights March on New Orleans City Hall.

Leontine Goins Luke, NAACP and Ninth Ward Civic and Improvement League member, circa 1977.

Leontine Goins Luke, NAACP and Ninth Ward Civic and Improvement League member, circa 1977.

Leontine Goins Luke, NAACP and Ninth Ward Civic and Improvement League member, circa 1977.

Dorothy Mae Taylor, A.L. Davis and Avery Alexander, undated.

Dorothy Mae Taylor, A.L. Davis and Avery Alexander, undated.

Dorothy Mae Taylor, A.L. Davis and Avery Alexander, undated.

Louisiana Weekly article regarding New Orleans CORE members and Freedom Riders.

Louisiana Weekly article regarding New Orleans CORE members and Freedom Riders.

Louisiana Weekly article regarding New Orleans CORE members and Freedom Riders.

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Esso Service Station owned by Ellis Marsalis Sr., circa July 1952?

Esso Service Station owned by Ellis Marsalis Sr., circa July 1952?

Esso Service Station owned by Ellis Marsalis Sr., circa July 1952?

Inaugural issue of The Louisiana Weekly (New Orleans Herald), September 19, 1925.

Inaugural issue of The Louisiana Weekly (New Orleans Herald), September 19, 1925.

Inaugural issue of The Louisiana Weekly (New Orleans Herald), September 19, 1925.

Front cover of the Crescent City Pictorial, 1926.

Front cover of the Crescent City Pictorial, 1926.

Front cover of the Crescent City Pictorial, 1926.

Undated photograph of the Unity Industrial Life Insurance Company office [?] by Villard Paddio.

Undated photograph of the Unity Industrial Life Insurance Company office [?] by Villard Paddio.

Undated photograph of the Unity Industrial Life Insurance Company office [?] by Villard Paddio.

Seventh Ward Civic League, 1930.

Seventh Ward Civic League, 1930.

Seventh Ward Civic League, 1930.

Mildred B. Martinez, founder of the Martinez Kindergarten School.

Mildred B. Martinez, founder of the Martinez Kindergarten School.

Mildred B. Martinez, founder of the Martinez Kindergarten School.

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Divergent Roads: The Historical Paths of Women Leaders in New Orleans 

April 3, 2018 - May 31, 2018

Amistad is a partner of NOLA4Women, an organization made up of community allies that seeks to take action through innovative programs that celebrate women and girls. As a NOLA4Women collaborator, Amistad chose to create an exhibition that supported the goals of the organization’s “Builders and Rebuilders” model, a paradigm which seeks to place the lives and voices of women in New Orleans at the forefront of the city’s historical narrative. This exhibition showcases the achievements of women educators, businesswomen, civil rights activists, and leaders that have been essential to the development of New Orleans.

Lonely Crusade: The Life and Work of Chester Himes

October 15, 2017 - February 28, 2018

Chester Himes was one of the most prolific Black writers of his time, yet he remains one of the least recognized in the United States, especially compared to his contemporaries Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. His early novels combined biographical elements along with a rough, yet piercing, view of the effects of discrimination and disenfranchisement on African Americans. Such works, at times, befuddled and incensed both publishers and critics alike. Himes would later become known for his “Harlem Cycle” of detective fiction.

To Preserve Their Freedom:  Jacob Lawrence's Toussaint L'Ouverture Serigraph Series

May 30, 2017 - August 31, 2017

In 1938, Jacob Lawrence was a twenty-one-year old graduate of the American Artist School in New York. Like many of his contemporaries, Lawrence’s work was funded in part by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Lawrence, however, did not rely on this source of support for long. That year, he completed his first major series. Named for the legendary Haitian leader Toussaint L’Ouverture, who helped to emancipate Haiti from Spanish and French rule, the series catapulted Lawrence into the national spotlight. He later reimagined his original forty-one panels as fifteen dynamic serigraphs, which illustrate his ingenious use of color, angled lines, stark figures, and his command of composition.

Dorotha Smith taking part in CORE protests on Canal Street, 1961.

Dorotha Smith taking part in CORE protests on Canal Street, 1961.

Dorotha Smith taking part in CORE protests on Canal Street, 1961.

Lucile Hutton receiving plaque from New Orleans Chapter Friends of Amistad, May 1982.

Lucile Hutton receiving plaque from New Orleans Chapter Friends of Amistad, May 1982.

Lucile Hutton receiving plaque from New Orleans Chapter Friends of Amistad, May 1982.

Membership installation of New Orleans Chapter of LINKS, Inc., 1957.

Membership installation of New Orleans Chapter of LINKS, Inc., 1957.

Membership installation of New Orleans Chapter of LINKS, Inc., 1957.

Dental clinic at Valena C. Jones School, circa 1940.

Dental clinic at Valena C. Jones School, circa 1940.

Dental clinic at Valena C. Jones School, circa 1940.

Ernest Morial discussing strategy with Dorothy Mae Taylor, 1967

Ernest Morial discussing strategy with Dorothy Mae Taylor, 1967

Ernest Morial discussing strategy with Dorothy Mae Taylor, 1967

Portrait of Elma Moore Booker, founder of Elma Moore’s School of Dance, undated.

Portrait of Elma Moore Booker, founder of Elma Moore’s School of Dance, undated.

Portrait of Elma Moore Booker, founder of Elma Moore’s School of Dance, undated.

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Chester Himes in his writing studio, undated.

Chester Himes in his writing studio, undated.

Chester Himes in his writing studio, undated.

Chester and Lesley Himes at their home, Casa Griot, undated.

Chester and Lesley Himes at their home, Casa Griot, undated.

Chester and Lesley Himes at their home, Casa Griot, undated.

Scene from the film 'Cotton Comes to Harlem', 1970.

Scene from the film 'Cotton Comes to Harlem', 1970.

Scene from the film 'Cotton Comes to Harlem', 1970.

First page of Himes’ short story, “Daydream,” 1955.

First page of Himes’ short story, “Daydream,” 1955.

First page of Himes’ short story, “Daydream,” 1955.

Chester Himes’ first novel, 'If He Hollers Let Him Go', 1945.

Chester Himes’ first novel, 'If He Hollers Let Him Go', 1945.

Chester Himes’ first novel, 'If He Hollers Let Him Go', 1945.

French edition of Himes’ novel All Shot Up, 1971.

French edition of Himes’ novel All Shot Up, 1971.

French edition of Himes’ novel 'All Shot Up' 1971.

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'The Capture' by Jacob Lawrence

'The Capture' by Jacob Lawrence

'The Capture' by Jacob Lawrence

'Deception' by Jacob Lawrence

'Deception' by Jacob Lawrence

'Deception' by Jacob Lawrence

Left to right: Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Romare Bearden

Left to right: Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Romare Bearden

Left to right: Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Romare Bearden

Jacob Lawrence (left) with Clifton Johnson, Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center

Jacob Lawrence (left) with Clifton Johnson, Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center

Jacob Lawrence (left) with Clifton Johnson, Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center

'The Strategy' by Jacob Lawrence

'The Strategy' by Jacob Lawrence

'The Strategy' by Jacob Lawrence

Image from the brochure advertising the serigraph series.

Image from the brochure advertising the serigraph series.

Image from the brochure advertising the serigraph series.

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Carnets de voyage: Des Afro-Américains à l’étranger / Travel Diaries: African Americans Abroad

January 9, 2017 - April 21, 2017

The exhibition, Travel Diaries: African Americans Abroad, documented the international travel experiences of African Americans and their interactions with others within the African diaspora. Dating from the end of the 19th century through the 20th century, this exhibition explored the lives of African American educators, artists, missionaries, activists, soldiers, journalists, and Foreign Service workers as they traveled for a myriad of pursuits. By viewing evidence of their globetrotting through photographs, diaries, notebooks, and other writings, we are able to piece together how their journeys shaped them and how they shaped the perceptions about African Americans across the globe.

Black Arts Movement  

July 11, 2016 - December 16, 2016

The Black Arts Movement (circa 1965-1975) was not seen as a form of protest by its adherents and participants but as a cultural revolution. While most notably visible within theater and poetry, African American artists in other areas, including music, painting, and sculpture, drew heavily from African-inspired themes that were molded to reflect the contemporary African American experience. The Black Arts Movement is well-represented in the manuscript, library and art collections at the Amistad Research Center.

“Here I Found a Goldmine…:” Celebrating 50 Years of the Amistad Research Center

January 11, 2016 - June 30, 2016

The title of this exhibition was derived from a quotation by the Center’s founding director, Dr. Clifton H. Johnson, on records of the American Missionary Association, Amistad’s initial collection. Drawing from its vast library and  archival holdings, the materials in this exhibition displayed the scope and breadth of papers, records, books, and more acquired as part of Amistad’s decades-long mission to collect, preserve, and  provide access to materials documenting the social and cultural importance of America's ethnic history, human relations, and social justice movements. 

Contours: Reflections on the Life and Work of Hale Smith

September 8, 2015 - December 18, 2018

Cleveland-born composer and arranger Hale Smith once described himself as “one of America's most famous unknown composers.” The Hale Smith exhibition explores the influence Smith had on the music world through his numerous collaborations with other musicians and poets, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy, Langston Hughes, Anne Wiggins Brown, Regina Harris Baiocchi, and others. The exhibition showcased his student days at the Cleveland Institute of Music to his later years writing, recording, and teaching in the Northeast. Smith’s letters, photographs, essays, musical compositions, and other personal and collected papers expose a life lived as a humble, but influential, arranger, composer, and performer.

Harry F.V. Edward in Vietnam.

Harry F.V. Edward in Vietnam.

Harry F.V. Edward in Vietnam.

Passport of artist Louise Jefferson.

Passport of artist Louise Jefferson.

Passport of artist Louise Jefferson.

Bonita Valien n Nigeria organizing women sewing for hospital group Bonita organized in 1960

Bonita Valien n Nigeria organizing women sewing for hospital group Bonita organized in 1960

Bonita Valien n Nigeria organizing women sewing for hospital group Bonita organized in 1960

Program for Anne Wiggins Brown concert in Italy, 1946.

Program for Anne Wiggins Brown concert in Italy, 1946.

Program for Anne Wiggins Brown concert in Italy, 1946.

Irene Dobb’s travel diary while in Venice, Italy, April 1952.

Irene Dobb’s travel diary while in Venice, Italy, April 1952.

Irene Dobb’s travel diary while in Venice, Italy, April 1952.

Countee Cullen and his father, Frederick, in Egypt.

Countee Cullen and his father, Frederick, in Egypt.

Countee Cullen and his father, Frederick, in Egypt.

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Flyer for the Free Southern Theater's BLKARTSOUTH

Flyer for the Free Southern Theater's BLKARTSOUTH

Flyer for the Free Southern Theater's BLKARTSOUTH

For Those Who Have No Theater, advertising poster for Free Southern Theater, circa 1966.

For Those Who Have No Theater, advertising poster for Free Southern Theater, circa 1966.

For Those Who Have No Theater, advertising poster for Free Southern Theater, circa 1966.

Askia Touré, Lorenzo Thomas, and Ishmael Reed at Umbra Writers’ Workshop gathering, 1963.

Askia Touré, Lorenzo Thomas, and Ishmael Reed at Umbra Writers’ Workshop gathering, 1963.

Askia Touré, Lorenzo Thomas, and Ishmael Reed at Umbra Writers’ Workshop gathering, 1963. Photograph by Alvin Simon.

'Nkombo', No. 9 (June 1974).

'Nkombo', No. 9 (June 1974).

'Nkombo', No. 9 (June 1974).

Flyer for the Black Arts Repertory Theatre School, December 1965.

Flyer for the Black Arts Repertory Theatre School, December 1965.

Flyer for the Black Arts Repertory Theatre School, December 1965.

Front cover of Sonia Sanchez’s 'It’s a New Day', 1971

Front cover of Sonia Sanchez’s 'It’s a New Day', 1971

Front cover of Sonia Sanchez’s 'It’s a New Day', 1971

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Demonstration against South Africa ship by American Committee on Africa and Congress of Racial Equal

Demonstration against South Africa ship by American Committee on Africa and Congress of Racial Equal

Demonstration against South Africa ship by American Committee on Africa and Congress of Racial Equality, New York, October 1963

Daguerreotype of Barnabas Root, 1860

Daguerreotype of Barnabas Root, 1860

Daguerreotype of Barnabas Root, 1860

Slater Training School, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Slater Training School, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Slater Training School, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Slave Bill of Sale, Louisiana, 1857.

Slave Bill of Sale, Louisiana, 1857.

Slave Bill of Sale, Louisiana, 1857.

Reprint of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 5

Reprint of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 5

Reprint of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 5

Page from guest book of Albert and Jessie Dent of Dillard University with signature of Marian Anders

Page from guest book of Albert and Jessie Dent of Dillard University with signature of Marian Anders

Page from guest book of Albert and Jessie Dent of Dillard University with signature of Marian Anderson.

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Photograph of Dizzy Gillespie, Hale Smith and Benny Carter at the Greenwich Village Jazz Festival

Photograph of Dizzy Gillespie, Hale Smith and Benny Carter at the Greenwich Village Jazz Festival

Photograph of Dizzy Gillespie, Hale Smith and Benny Carter at the Greenwich Village Jazz Festival, August 1984. Photo by Ed Berger.

Poster advertisement for performance of Langston Hughes' "Ask Your Mama" with music by Hale Smith

Poster advertisement for performance of Langston Hughes' "Ask Your Mama" with music by Hale Smith

Poster advertisement for performance of Langston Hughes' "Ask Your Mama" with music by Hale Smith, Signed by performers and crew, 2001.

Detail of 1969 CUNY Spring Concert and Lecture Series with listing for Hale Smith, 1969.

Detail of 1969 CUNY Spring Concert and Lecture Series with listing for Hale Smith, 1969.

Detail of 1969 CUNY Spring Concert and Lecture Series with listing for Hale Smith, 1969.

Program for 1962 performance (the 1st) of Hale Smith's "Contours" by Louisville Orchestra.

Program for 1962 performance (the 1st) of Hale Smith's "Contours" by Louisville Orchestra.

Program for 1962 performance (the 1st) of Hale Smith's "Contours" by Louisville Orchestra.

Front cover of book of music and record lists by Hale Smith, n.d.

Front cover of book of music and record lists by Hale Smith, n.d.

Front cover of book of music and record lists by Hale Smith, n.d.

Hale Smith at piano at Karamu House, circa 1949-1951.

Hale Smith at piano at Karamu House, circa 1949-1951.

Hale Smith at piano at Karamu House, circa 1949-1951.

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April 2015 was the centenary of the birth of printmaker and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett. To mark the occasion, the Amistad Research Center celebrated her life and work in an exhibition, which featured not only a selection of documents housed in her personal papers but her works of art from the Center's fine arts collection. In addition to twelve works on paper and one sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett, Amistad also houses an extensive collection of her personal papers, including correspondence with fellow artists, photographs, exhibition and gallery catalogs, family papers, and more — all of which document Catlett’s career and influence in twentieth century American art.

'Roots', Lithograph, 1981.

'Roots', Lithograph, 1981.

'Roots', Lithograph, 1981.

'Lovely Twice', Lithograph, 1976.

'Lovely Twice', Lithograph, 1976.

'Lovely Twice', Lithograph, 1976.

'Harriet', Linocut, 1953.

'Harriet', Linocut, 1953.

'Harriet', Linocut, 1953.

'Dancing', Lithograph, 1990.

'Dancing', Lithograph, 1990.

'Dancing', Lithograph, 1990.

Elizabeth Catlett at work in her studio, circa 1983

Elizabeth Catlett at work in her studio, circa 1983

Elizabeth Catlett at work in her studio, circa 1983

Elizabeth Catlett at work in her studio, circa 1950s

Elizabeth Catlett at work in her studio, circa 1950s

Elizabeth Catlett at work in her studio, circa 1950s

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Art in Service to Her People: Celebrating Elizabeth Catlett

January 6, 2015 - April 24, 2015

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