Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books
August 15–November 8, 2020
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.
Organized in collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the presentation will include more than eighty 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.
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 October 18, 2020, through January 17, 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.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre at The Woodruff Arts Center, of which the High is also an arts partner, will present the world-premiere play Sit-In (June 10–July 12, 2020), based on Andrea Pinkney’s book Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down.
"Upstairs... surrounded by rough drafts and scribbled notes on yellow legal pads...""Upstairs... surrounded by rough drafts and scribbled notes on yellow legal pads..."
American, born 1939
“Upstairs… surrounded by rough drafts and scribbled notes on yellow legal pads…”
Illustration for A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein, 2019
Graphite, colored pencil, watercolor, and collage on Arches watercolor paper
Courtesy of the artist
"He hadn't come this far to turn back or soften his message.""He hadn't come this far to turn back or soften his message."
“He hadn’t come this far to turn back or soften his message.”
Illustration for Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly by Walter Dean Myers, 2000
Acrylic, pastel, and spray paint layered on museum board
Courtesy of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
"At first, I thought Jim Crow was a big black crow that squawked whenever a black person tried to get a good seat.""At first, I thought Jim Crow was a big black crow that squawked whenever a black person tried to get a good seat."
American, born 1952
“At first, I thought Jim Crow was a big black crow that squawked whenever a black person tried to get a good seat.”
Illustration for Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton, 2010
Wash, colored pencil, lithograph pencil, and graphite on watercolor paper
Courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries
"Emmett Till's name still catches in my throat...""Emmett Till's name still catches in my throat..."
Swiss, born 1963
“Emmett Till’s name still catches in my throat…”
Illustration for A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson, 2005
Tempera on cardboard
Courtesy of the artist
Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books is co-organized by the High Museum of Art and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Major funding for this exhibition is provided by
The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation
The Rich Foundation, Inc.
This exhibition is made possible by
Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor
Exhibition Series Sponsors
Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
Tom and Susan Wardell
Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole
Robin and Hilton Howell
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Margot and Danny McCaul
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Additional support is provided by 2020 Grandparents Circle of Support members
Spring and Tom Asher, Anne Cox Chambers, Ann and Tom Cousins, Sandra and John Glover, Shearon and Taylor Glover, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Jane and Hicks Lanier, and by Lavona Currie, Nena Griffith, Ellen and Tom Harbin, and Margaretta Taylor
Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.