Columbus Museum exhibit shows pre-civil rights segregation in the South

Columbus Museum exhibit shows pre-civil rights segregation in the South

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Sparking conversation about where we've been and where we're headed is the goal of the Columbus Museum's latest exhibit which features photos of segregated Alabama in the 1950's.

While racial issues continue to shake our country to this day, some could say this exhibit is opening at an important time for our country.

"1956 was a time throughout America, but especially in the deep South, where Jim Crow laws and segregation were in full effect. This was the very early days of the Civil Rights movement," said Rebecca Bush, museum curator.

A blast of a troubling past. The Columbus Museum is launching this new display on October 1. The set of pictures comes from a Life-Magazine commissioned project to show parts of Alabama in 1956.

"Life sent Gordon Parks, an African-American photographer, down to Mobile, Alabama and the neighboring community of Shady Grove, to photograph the ways that Jim Crow was affecting several families who lived there in the area. How it affected their daily lives, shopping, schools, their church," said Bush.

A group of art history students at Columbus State University set out to Mobile themselves, snapping a different world than Gordon had. Their photos make up a supplemental blog for museum goers to see how the area has changed, although history experts say the push for equality is far from over.

"Sadly the events of the past couple of years have shown that despite what some people said in 2008, the United States is not in a post-racial society. We've come a long way, we've certainly advanced quite a ways since these photographs were taken in 1956, 60 years ago, but there is still a lot of work to be done," said Bush.

The Columbus Museum is free and open six days a week. This display will be up until December 11.

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