Miami University Art Museum exhibit includes photographs of the civil rights movement
“It was a wonderful collaboration with Steve because, as you may know, the land where the art museum is located is part of what used to be the Western College for Women. Now it is considered the West Campus of the University of Miami. In 1964, the Western College for Women organized the two-week training for volunteers, who traveled to the Deep South, particularly Mississippi, to support black voter registration and the establishment of Freedom Schools and of freedom libraries,” Shaiman said.
Freedom Summer was organized by Western College for Women.
“The photos we have show how Steve Schapiro became involved in photography for the civil rights movement. Then, with a particular focus on Freedom Summer, some of the photos were taken in Oxford during the first week of training. Steve n was present only during the first week of training,” he said.
The rest of the photos in the exhibit record what he saw and documented in Mississippi, around the Neshoba County area, where many of the Mississippi troubles unfolded, Shaiman said.
“Steve has had a diverse career. He really made a name for himself in civil rights photography. He took some of the most amazing photos of Dr King, people like John Lewis, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks and so many major figures in the civil rights movement, especially in the 1960s. His involvement really started with James Baldwin, who was a highly regarded writer, poet, and speaker on the black experience,” he said.
Baldwin introduced Schapiro to many major civil rights figures, which transformed his trajectory as a photojournalist, which continued into the 1960s. sets and staggered for many major films like “The Godfather”, “Taxi Driver” and a number of big name films and he became very well known and respected for this work, which occupied him for several decades.
“Schapiro has said in interviews that, as wonderful as these opportunities were, he always felt like his civil rights photos were his most important contributions to photography,” Shaiman said.
He said Schapiro was able to capture the individual personalities of the people he recorded in his photos.
“He had a unique approach,” Shaiman said, “There was nothing staged about his photos.”
“He was really capturing who these people were and why they were fighting, and I think his approach went beyond photojournalism, and he really captured a sense of the humanity of the people he was photographing,” Shaiman said. .
The exhibition and associated programming is supported by a grant from FotoFocus as part of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennale. The Art Museum has also received support from Richard and Susan Momeyer. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Schapiro, who died on January 15.
How to get there
What: “A Lens for Freedom: Civil Rights Photographs by Steve Schapiro”
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month. The exhibition is visible until December 10. Closed on Sundays, Mondays and university holidays.
Where: University of Miami Museum of Art and Sculpture Park, 801 S. Patterson Ave., Oxford
Admission: Free and open to the public. Visitor parking cards are available at the museum.
More information: (513) 529-2232 or www.MiamiOH.edu/ArtMuseum. Wearing a mask is optional for visitors.