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SCLC exhibit at Emory documents ongoing struggle for equal rights

2/8/2013, 12:56 p.m.

Letters, documents, photographs and recordings from the storied past of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference will go on display on Feb. 21 at Emory Universitys Robert W. Woodruff Library.

The artifacts are part of the exhibit And the Struggle Continues: The Southern Christian Leadership Conferences Fight for Social Change, which documents the Atlanta-based civil rights organizations history, progress and continuous work for equal rights.

The collection of 918 boxes covers SCLC activities and business between 1968 and 2007 and includes administrative files with correspondence, reports, memos, notebooks and meeting minutes as well as photographs, fliers, and audio and video recordings.

Emorys Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library acquired the SCLC archives in 2008 and opened it to researchers, history buffs and the public in May 2012.

This is the first exhibit from the collection. It runs through Dec. 1 in the librarys Schatten Gallery and the Jones Room, both on the third floor of the Woodruff Library.

The exhibits opening celebration on Feb. 22 will feature remarks from U.S. Rep. John Lewis; SCLC leaders C.T. Vivian and Charles Steele Jr. and board President Bernard Lafayette; and Dorothy Cotton, who was the SCLCs education director between 1960 and 1968.

The exhibition and celebration, which takes place from 6 to 8 p.m., are open to the public free of charge.

The SCLC was founded in Atlanta in 1957 by a group of civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Revs. Ralph David Abernathy and Joseph E. Lowery. Each has served as its president.

Compelling components of the archives include transcripts, audio recordings, and other materials for the radio show Martin Luther King Speaks, which aired from 1967 to 1979. The program aired speeches and interviews with prominent members of the civil rights movement as well as with womens rights activists, anti-war activists, and other cultural figures. This part of the collection demonstrates SCLCs engagement with a broad array of issues and social movements throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Also included are planning files, photos, and audio and video recordings that document other major activities such as the Poor Peoples Campaign of 1968, its involvement in the Charleston hospital workers strike of 1969 and the Crisis in Health Care for Black and Poor Americans hearings in 1984, and its Gun Buyback Program in the 1990s.

Woodruff Library is at 540 Asbury Circle in Atlanta. For more information, visit http://marbl.library.emory.edu or call 404-727-6887.