Tickets for members and children under 11 are free.
The Brooklyn Museum is proud to join forces with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), to present The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America, an exhibition presenting EJI’s groundbreaking research on the history of racial violence in the United States and its continuing impact on our nation to this day.
The exhibition will include video stories featuring descendants of lynching victims, a short documentary, photographs, an interactive map presenting EJI’s research, and informational videos featuring Bryan Stevenson. To deepen the conversation, a team of Brooklyn Museum curators selected more than a dozen artworks from its collections by African American artists whose practices respond to racism in the United States in several forms. Artists include Sanford Biggers, Mark Bradford, Elizabeth Catlett, Melvin Edwards, Theaster Gates, Rashid Johnson, Titus Kaphar, Jacob Lawrence, Glenn Ligon, and Kara Walker.
The exhibition also presents materials from the Museum Library and Archives on the institution’s support for efforts against lynching. They include a 1935 pledge by Museum Director Philip N. Youtz supporting the NAACP’s anti-lynching art exhibition as well as documents from a benefit art auction and exhibition for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund that the Museum hosted in 1963.
More recently, the Museum presented Bryan Stevenson in a conversation with death row exoneree Anthony Ray Hinton, in 2016, as part of the ongoing program “States of Denial: The Illegal Incarceration of Women, Children, and People of Culture,” organized by Elizabeth A. Sackler and the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
The Museum has also held numerous exhibitions on related topics, including Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, Agitprop!, and Sanford Biggers, among others, including We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85, currently on view.
By highlighting the historical impact of systemic racism in our country, the exhibition is conceived to raise awareness for EJI’s forthcoming Memorial to Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Opening in 2018, the memorial will be the country’s first ever national monument to commemorate the more than four thousand black men, women, and children who were lynched and murdered between 1877 and 1950. EJI also plans to open an accompanying racial justice museum that will trace a direct line between slavery and mass incarceration.
To approach this topic respectfully, the exhibition focuses on personal stories. It does not contain explicit photos. In order to appropriately acknowledge the subject of racial violence with the utmost care and sensitivity, the Museum will provide a space outside the gallery for visitors to explore reading material and to reflect.
The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror has been assembled and organized by a team of Brooklyn Museum curators, librarian and archivist, educators, designers in collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative and Google.