U.S. Civil Rights Movement Documents and Photographs on Show
A revealing new Princeton University Library exhibition Nobody Turn Us Around: The Freedom Rides and Selma to Montgomery Marches: Selections from the John Doar Papers showcases photographs and documents from two watershed events during the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement, the Freedom Rides of 1961 and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965.
The exhibition at Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. is curated by Princeton University Library’s William Clements, Public Policy Papers Archivist, and Phoebe Nobles, Processing Archivist, with materials selected from the papers of John Doar, Class of 1944, who prosecuted discrimination and segregation cases for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in the 1960s. The papers are housed at Mudd Manuscript Library.
The objects on display hint at how the Justice Department - as well as the executive branch and the F.B.I. - were watching and reacting to the direct actions of riders and marchers like John Lewis, James Farmer, Diane Nash, Hosea Williams, Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
While both the Freedom Rides and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches were systematically thwarted, not only by white mobs, but also by state and local officials and police, the images and accounts of the violent receptions these peaceful protesters received ultimately swayed public sentiment and created pressure to pass an order in September 1961 by the Interstate Commerce Commission to desegregate travel facilities, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The John Doar papers are available for research in the Mudd Library Reading Room.
The exhibition rusn through March 31, 2024 and is open to the public during Mudd Manuscript Library’s regular opening hours. There is also a digital companion exhibition.