History in Action: LIFE Magazine & The Civil Rights Movement

The Department of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the special exhibition “History in Action: LIFE Magazine & The Civil Rights Movement,” organized for the Office of Student Affairs Diversity & Inclusion in celebration of Black History Month. The exhibition is located in The Global Education Center, Taylor 219-220, Taylor Center, Auburn University at Montgomery, and will be up from January 12 – March 2, 2018.  HistoryinAction_Page_1Between 1936 and 1972, LIFE magazine was the most popular weekly periodical in America, circulating 13.5 million copies per week. As an illustrated magazine publishing interviews and photo-essays, LIFE was integral to shaping the ways that 20th-century Americans understood and imagined the world around them. LIFE magazine addressed political, social, and cultural events, including documenting the Civil Rights Movement through photographs and stories.

LIFE wall

This exhibition showcases important LIFE magazine covers from this era, such as the March on Washington, alongside photographs which focus on Alabama: images of the WWII-era Tuskegee Airmen, the 1963 “Stand in the schoolhouse door” to prevent the desegregation of schools in Tuscaloosa, AL, the 1963 march in memory of children killed in the Birmingham bombing, the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, and images of African American voters in Alabama.

Taken together, this exhibition tells a story about the ways in which photographs and popular publications shape our understanding of history, presents African American citizens in Alabama as active agents in the fight for Civil Rights, and encourages us to consider the state of race relations today in America.


The exhibition was curated by Dr. Naomi Slipp, Assistant Professor of Art History, Auburn University at Montgomery, with materials drawn from the 2012 special exhibition, “Silhouettes of Courage: Marching to Equality,” organized by former AUM Art History Professor Dr. Keri Watson.

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