The Library, Archives, and Museums (LAMs) Collaborative invites you to attend the penultimate LAMs “Lunch and Learn” event for this academic year.
During all three lunch periods on Tuesday, April 14, in the Mural Room in Paresky Commons, the LAMs will offer opportunities for the PA community to engage with materials in our collections that help tell the complex story of the struggle for civil rights in the United States. We want you to think about how you would act to push for social change using nonviolent methods such as the sit-in Brian Gittens ’89 organized at PA in 1989. Each organization’s display presents a different aspect of this larger question.
The OWHL’s exhibit will focus on the life and legacy of Bayard Rustin. Rustin worked for more than 50 years as a peace activist and civil rights organizer, yet he is largely overlooked in the American pantheon of civil rights leaders. The fact that he was openly homosexual and had been arrested on a “morals charge” is considered to be the primary reason for his hidden, complicated place in civil rights history. The OWHL owns several collections of Rustin’s letters and writings as well as a documentary film. We will show clips of the film and display books, buttons, fliers, and other primary source documents.
The Clift Music Library will showcase a variety of music resources highlighting the deep relationship between music and social justice movements. The Clift collection includes a veritable soundtrack for the civil rights movement. In the greater context of protest music there will be examples covering a variety of issues, such as labor rights, prisoner rights, rights of indigenous peoples, antiwar music, coal mining, poverty, and environmentalism.
The Academy Archives plans to display four collections from 1966 to 1975. These records will allow students to explore what it was like to be a student of color at Phillips Academy during this tumultuous period before, during, and after the merger of Abbot and Phillips academies. The collections include:
The Addison Gallery of American Art will offer Images and Text: Photojournalism, Media, and Public Opinion. The images in this collection will prompt students to explore photojournalism and social documentary photography as a form of social protest. How can the power of images to sway public opinion be harnessed by a social or political movement? Students will examine images from the period that we call the Civil Rights Movement, as well as images that speak to other groups fighting for their civil rights in a variety of periods, and consider how these images might be described in media sources.
The Peabody Museum will present “Pride and Prejudice,” which asks the community to weigh the issues involved in the use of Native Americans as team mascots. For decades there has been a debate in the United States about the use of Native American imagery as sport mascots. Individuals on both sides of the dispute have strong and deeply held beliefs about their thoughts on the matter. The Peabody will use mascot and other imagery to provoke student thought about this important issue and, through the use of Post-it notes, will ask students to share their thoughts and views on the issues. The video Proud to Be also will be shown.
In addition, the Peabody will consider the following question: Should Native American human remains be returned to their descendants when they could otherwise be studied to better understand the past? This question will frame the discussion over the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) that is a daily part of running the Peabody Museum. Students will be asked to cast a “Yes” or “No” vote and will be encouraged to briefly and anonymously explain their reasoning on a Post-it note. Then they will be prompted with the question, “Is this a civil rights issue?” These questions will seamlessly introduce NAGPRA to students and facilitate discussion about a commonly overlooked minority in the national civil rights conversation.
The Academy Geographer would like us to consider that this country, with its complex and fascinating history, is impossible to capture in a single frame. Participants will engage with a collection of 70 maps that tell many stories. After exploring the maps, students will be invited to explain how a map or maps they viewed provided vital information that helped them understand American history/America.
Please join us on Tuesday. You are welcome to eat your lunch in the Mural Room, and cupcakes will be provided.