‘A Time for Change’ Exhibit in Atlantic City Showcases South Jersey Civil Rights Movement

For Immediate Release; with photos on flickr


Contact:         Maryjane Briant       
                        News and Media Relations Director
                        Galloway, N.J. 08205  
                        (609) 652-4593     

Galloway, N.J. – South Jersey played an important part in the struggle for African-American equality. Its citizens fought for racial justice and against segregation in the south, marched on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr., protested on the Atlantic City Boardwalk with the Mississippi Freedom Democrats, and showcased the first Miss Black America contest. An exhibition about that struggle, "A Time for Change," is open now through Sept. 28 at the Noyes Arts Garage in Atlantic City, N.J.

The exhibition is brought to the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey in the Arts Garage, at 2200 Fairmount Ave., by Stockton University and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

"This project is the culmination of over two years of collaboration between the university and the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey, and demonstrates the commitment Stockton has to our community,’ said Assistant Provost Michelle McDonald. “It also addresses the  complicated issue of race relations, not only during what was a critical time in our region's past but also as an essential topic for ongoing conversation given recent events.  I hope it will prompt viewers to consider where we have come from, and how far we have yet to travel."

The show includes the first Miss Black America pageant in 1968, the origins of Martin Luther King Day that same year, and racial conflicts in both Camden and Newark as well as how they fit into the larger context of a national movement.  

Ralph Hunter, director of the African American Heritage Museum, said: "This exhibition demonstrates the rise and fall of race relations and integration in South Jersey and our nation. It captures the part that Atlantic City played, on the boardwalk and in the convention hall.  In fact, the day I saw Fannie Lou Hamer having to leave the Convention Hall building was one of the most exciting days of my life."                                                                                    

John O'Hara, associate professor of Critical Thinking and First Year Studies at Stockton, headed the project, working with graduate students.  “The title of this exhibition, 'A Time for Change,' evokes the situations and conditions of change in the 1960s, but in looking at the 1964 Democratic National Convention protests, de facto segregation, race and police violence, and urban unrest, it also evokes the present,” he said.  “Many of the moments on which we focus are not so distant after all, and we invite visitors to reflect on the nature and meaning of civil rights change."

The public is invited to view the exhibit Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. An official opening and reception will be held on Friday, Aug. 12, from 6-8 p.m. as part of the Arts Garage’s "Second Friday" series.