A nationally traveling exhibit about black history is making its only stop in Indiana at Franklin College.
The exhibit, titled “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963,” is about the history of the black freedom struggle between those two periods in the United States.
In order to get the exhibit, Meredith Clark-Wiltz — an assistant history professor, who is also the program coordinator — applied for a grant through the American Library Association.
The exhibit consists of nine panels, each containing photographs and texts from the period.
A significant portion will be Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. A recording of the speech will also be played for an audio experience.
All of the materials for the exhibit came from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office.
The “Changing America” exhibit also ties into the curriculum in one of Clark-Wiltz’s classes.
As a way to learn about managing exhibits, students from her public history class worked together to set the exhibit up and will help manage and deconstruct it.
“I like studying African American history,” sophomore Hannah Rollett said. “So to be able to come and set up and be responsible for an exhibit about African American history is really exciting for me.”
In accordance with the exhibit, two evening programs are scheduled for April 6 and 27.
The first program will be presented by the last convocation speaker Barbara Ransby, interim vice provost for planning and programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She will speak about the Black Freedom Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement and talk about what the future could hold for these movements.
During the second program on April 27, two students will perform spoken-word poetry on the subjects of race and equality.
“There is so much going on in the world with race and social justice and discussions of social justice moving forward,” Ransby said. “That’s mirrored on our campus with our strategic plan, and diversity is a major part of that.”
Franklin College is one of 50 stops the traveling exhibit is making across the country.
The exhibit is open to students, faculty, staff and the public and will be on campus inside the Richardson Chapel from March 22 to May 5.