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Black Lives Always Mattered!: Hidden African American Philadelphians of the Twentieth Century Project—A Preview, Co-Curated by Eric Battle

Monday, March 09, 2020 - Wednesday, August 05, 2020

This exhibition provides a glimpse of a seminal forthcoming graphic novel funded by the PEW Center for Arts & Heritage. The exhibit pairs artist illustrations from the graphic novel with John W. Mosley photographs and other resources from the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection that highlight hidden African American Philadelphians.

The graphic novel, scheduled for publication in 2021, presents the history and impact of Black Philadelphians through rich and compelling narratives about their lives. It provides a counter narrative to the crime, poverty, and hopelessness covered by mainstream media from the early nineteenth through the twentieth centuries. African Americans created original American music such as gospel, blues, and jazz. They established churches, fraternities, sororities, secret societies, and other social and civic organizations. They were not only laborers, domestics, and among the highest unemployed but also overcame racial barriers to become lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, entrepreneurs, union organizers, engineers, and architects.

Black Lives Always Mattered! has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.