Poage Library Exhibit Commemorates 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

  • James Karales (1930-2002). Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights, 1965.
Feb. 18, 2014

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

WACO, Texas (Feb. 18, 2014) - The W.R. Poage Poage Legislative Library at Baylor University will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement with an exhibit featuring photographs, interactive video and other artifacts on display from February through June 2014. "Reflections on the Civil Rights Movement" is free and open to the public.

"The year 1964 was significant in America," said Ben Rogers, director of the Poage Library, who has been planning the exhibit for more than a year. "The assassination of President Kennedy shocked the nation during a period when great social change was taking place. The Civil Rights Movement, which received a strong impetus from Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington in 1963 and his visit to the White House, was a significant part of these changes. The success of Dr. King and others who quietly changed America along with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 deserve to be commemorated as America continues to come to terms with race relations in a culturally diverse society."

The exhibit includes the verse of Langston Hughes interspersed with images from the period, editorial cartoons from the 1960s, a case about Waco native Doris Miller, a section dedicated to Black Like Me author John Howard Griffin and more. An online component to the exhibit exposes visitors to the holdings of the Poage Library and other Baylor libraries containing civil rights materials.

One collection in particular, Baylor's Black Gospel Restoration Project, has direct ties to the Civil Rights Movement in that many of the "B" sides of gospel music from this era recorded songs integral to the movement. Selections from this collection can be heard as part of the exhibit and are on display.

Baylor museum studies graduate student Erik Swanson curated the exhibit, his spirit moved by those involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

"The courage of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis and Roy Wilkins, as well as that of average men and women who put their jobs, families and lives on the line for economic and racial equality, inspired me during the process of creating this exhibit. Courage in the face of adversity is, in my opinion, the true legacy of the Civil Rights Movement," Swanson said.

The Baylor Libraries connect people with ideas in support of teaching, learning, scholarship and academic distinction through its Central Libraries and the holdings in its special collections libraries, such as Armstrong Browning Library, the Electronic Library, The Texas Collection and the Poage Library.

"The collections held by Baylor's libraries and presented in exhibits like 'Reflections on the Civil Rights Movement' demonstrate how the Baylor Libraries enrich the academic climate at Baylor," said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of University Libraries. "It is important for Baylor students, some of whose parents were not yet born when the Civil Rights Act was passed, to learn about the significant figures and events from this time. Baylor faculty are enriched by exhibits like these because they expose them to the research resources available in our archival collections."

The "Reflections on the Civil Rights Movement" exhibit is featured along with an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the Poage Library. The special collections library is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on the Baylor campus at 201 Baylor Ave.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


W.R. Poage Legislative Library is a research facility that collects congressional records and personal papers related to the political history of Central Texas. It houses the papers of twelve former members of Congress, six Texas legislators, five judges, an editorial cartoon collection, extremist organizations' materials, one Lieutenant Governor's papers and records of the McLennan County Democratic Party. In addition, the library contains a map collection, an extensive campaign materials collection and a 20,000-volume book collection focusing on Congress, political history and areas of public policy.

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