Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books

Organized in collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the presentation will include more than 80 artworks, ranging from paintings and prints to collages and drawings, that evoke the power and continuing relevance of the era that shaped American history and continues to reverberate today.  

This exhibition is the first of its kind to delve into the events, people and themes of the civil rights movement, both celebrated and forgotten, through one of the most compelling forms of visual expression, the children’s picture book.

Raúl Colón (American, born1952),“So Mama and Daddy packed up their three little girls—,” fromChild of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton (Schwartz & WadeBooks, 2010), wash, colored pencil, lithograph pencil, and graphite on watercolor paper, courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries, Northampton, Massachusetts. (c) 2010 Raúl Colón.

The year 2020 marks the anniversary of several key events from the civil rights movement. Sixty-five years ago, in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Ruby Bridges integrated her New Orleans elementary school, and four black students catalyzed the sit-in movement at the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. These actions and more are explored in the exhibition with titles by beloved children’s book authors and artists as well as talented newcomers. Picture the Dream will emphasize children’s roles as activists and tell important stories about the movement’s icons, including Parks, Bridges, Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

Picture the Dream marks the High’s fifth collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum, where the exhibition will be on view from Feb. 7 through May 30, 2021. The exhibition is guest curated by New York Times-best-selling and Coretta Scott King Book Award-winning children’s book author Andrea Davis Pinkney.

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