TCC Trinity River to host two exhibits featuring historical photos of the African American experience

Tarrant County College Trinity River will host two traveling exhibits for African American Heritage Month, and everyone is invited.

Starting Tuesday, Feb. 4, the new TCC Trinity River East Fork Art Gallery will display the works of famed civil rights photographer Ernest Withers (1922-2007). Withers travelled throughout the South in the late 1950s/early 1960s with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Meredith, Medgar Evers and others, capturing the essence of the Civil Rights Movement.

The “I AM A MAN” exhibition will feature iconic images of the NAACP Main Street protests, which focused on securing jobs for African Americans beyond janitorial staff in department stores that were happy to profit by selling to African Americans, but denied their right to work there.

Images include those of sharecroppers forced to live in Tent City, a small Tennessee town that was built after many Africans Americans were blacklisted for participating in Civil Rights actions such as lunch counter integrations, freedom schools, or even just registering to vote, and became unable to pay their rent.

Patrons will witness the portrayal of the Civil Rights Movement with images of James Meredith’s voyage to integrate the University of Mississippi and his March Against Fear in 1966.  The exhibit closes with images of King’s final, unplanned march in support of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike (became the Poor People’s March on Washington after King’s death).

The campus’ second exhibition, “Sepia: A Legacy in Photography,” features more than 50 historical photographs spanning three decades from the out-of-print Fort Worth-based Sepia Magazine. The traveling exhibit will run from Feb. 3-29 at TCC Trinity River.

A collaboration between TCC Trinity River and the African American Museum in Fair Park, this collection includes rare images of some of the most influential photographs of noteworthy figures and editorial images from the Sepia Magazine photographic archive, which contains more than 10,000 photos owned by the African American Museum.

Photos of celebrities like Aretha Franklin and Richard Pryor, and history-making figures such as Mozambican bullfighter Ricardo Chibanga will be included in the exhibit.

Sepia Magazine launched in 1947 as Negro Achievements and highlighted African American success stories. In 1951, two years after the death of its black founder, Horace J. Blackwell, white business mogul George Levithan took the helm. Under his guidance, Sepia Magazine became one of the strongest competitors to Ebony, another successful African American magazine.

Pictures will be displayed on the second floor of Trinity Building at the Trinity River Campus.

The “I Am a Man” exhibit will run Feb. 3-29, with a closing reception Thursday, Feb. 27, featuring an interactive discussion focusing on images from both exhibits. The public is invited to attend these free exhibits at TCC Trinity River, 300 Trinity Campus Circle, Fort Worth, TX 76102.

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