NY Historical Society: Freedom, Equality, & Civil Rights

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The New York Historical Society announced a new initiative to dedicate gallery space to the topics of freedom, equality and civil rights in America.

NY Historical Society: Freedom, Equality, & Civil Rights

Charles Gustrine, True Sons of Freedom, 1918, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC09121

First exhibit is Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow on view until March 3 and it is so interesting and timely.  It speaks to what we read in the papers every day about our inequality and the constant struggle for civil rights.  It examines the depth and breadth of opposition to black advancement, including how Jim Crow permeated the North.  Art, artifacts, photographs and media illustrate these formative decades in American history and their continuing relevance today.  Exhibition highlights include:

  • Portrait of Dred Scott—a Missouri slave who sued for his freedom and lost due to a Supreme Court decision.
  • 13th Amendment abolishing slavery
  • Slave Shackles and WW1 toy soldier diorama featuring African American troops
  • Activist Ida B. Wells’ pamphlet Southern Horrors (1892) reporting on the number of lynchings that had taken place the previous year.
  • Vegetable shampoo tin (1910-20) by the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Co., a cosmetics empire whose African American founder became a millionaire.
NY Historical Society: Freedom, Equality, & Civil Rights

Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Co., Vegetable shampoo tin, ca. 1910-1920, New-York Historical Society, Gift of Lisa Kugelman in memory of Thomas P. Kugelman


NY Historical Society: Freedom, Equality, & Civil Rights

Celebrating the Fifteenth Amendment which guaranteed African American men the right to vote, 1870. Print by Thomas Kelly. New-York Historical Society Library

It also examines how housing segregation in Manhattan led to community building in Harlem.  The exhibit encompasses much, much more and is interesting and of utmost importance In today’s world.  I urge everyone to see it.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg  Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan.  She may be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com




  • Museums

    New York City has some of the best museums in the world, large and small. Exploring NYC's cultural activities is highlight of living or visiting here.

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