UT Martin views Civil Rights Movement through photography

MARTIN, Tenn. — A local college is exploring the Civil Rights Movement through photography.

The University of Tennessee at Martin is hosting a museum exhibit that explores voters registration through photos taken in Tennessee.

“We’ve got an exhibit of photos that look at the Freedom Summers, when a group of students from Cornell University came down to Summerville, Tennessee and helped to get African Americans signed up to vote,” said Erik Nordberg, Dean of Paul Meek Library.

The collection of photographs taken by Nick Lawrence is named “The Other Freedom Summer” and tells the story of voters registration in Fayette County.

“They can expect coming back into history, seeing some history of West Tennessee that has been forgotten,” said Sam Richardson, curator at the J. Houston Gordon Museum. “Probably learn a little bit more about the area that they live in and grow up in.”

The exhibit is open to students and the public, giving visitors an opportunity to learn about the untold stories of voting during the Civil Rights Movement.

“I think very often that we focus on the preservation of historical documents. We put them in storage areas and we make sure they’re safe, and that’s really important so that that history is recorded and preserved, but I also think we have a tremendous responsibility to get those stories out,” Nordberg said.

It will be open from Feb. 7 until April 29. The exhibit is located inside of the Paul Meek Library on the UT Martin campus.

“What we’re trying to do is transform students from being that 18-year-old that has been cocooned in their own community, their own family, and kind of open their mind to what is going on in the world,” Nordberg said.

UT Martin will be hosting hybrid events throughout the spring semester as part of their Civil Rights Conference.

You can find more local news through the WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News app.

Categories: Gallery, Local News, News, Video