Flash Points: The Photography of Ernest C. Withers June 17 – August 31, 2023 The Arts and Recreation Center (The ARC) 675 Ali Baba Ave Opa-Locka, FL 33054
Ten North Group (previously Opa-locka Community Development Corporation) is pleased to present Flash Points: The Photography of Ernest C. Withers, an exhibition showcasing 41 original photographs by the revered Memphis-born photographer who documented and shaped the visual narrative of the Civil Rights Movement. Curated in partnership with Ms. Rosalind Withers, Director of the Ernest Withers Museum and Collection of Memphis, Tennessee, and daughter of the artist, Flash Points explores the cognitive character of Black struggle through Withers’ politics of creation as a Black photographer working within the American South. Flash Points is open now through August 31, 2023, at The Arts and Recreation Center (The ARC), 675 Ali Baba Ave, Opa-Locka, FL 33054.
Flash Points argues for the pictorial expansion of Blackness and the presentation of history without filter. The exhibition bears witness to the historical tipping points that galvanized the actions and resulting outcomes of The Poor People’s Campaign, the public understanding of Emmett Till’s murder and subsequent trial, the fallout of evictions that led to Fayette County’s Tent City, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Ernest C. Withers (August 7, 1922 – October 15, 2007) was an African American photojournalist who documented over 60 years of African American history and was often the only photographer to record these scenes, many of which were ignored by the mainstream press. He formed personal and complex relationships with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Young, and Mamie Till-Mobley, and his coverage of the Emmett Till murder trial brought national attention to the racist violence taking place during the 1950s in Mississippi, among other places.
Flash Points emerges as the Black experience is threatened by legislation–including the banning of books written by Black authors, the censorship of Black history, and voter suppression–all of which accentuate the continued oppression and attempted erasure of Black people. Flash Points considers how the work of Ernest C. Withers has contributed to the chronicling of African Americans’ struggles by capturing the contours of collective resistance; a jigsaw amalgamation of the pain and joy of quotidian life; the rejection of the status quo; and the faces of those who came to embody the struggle for the protection of individual rights.
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