An exhibition of 50 historic photographs by documentary photographer Jim Lucas—A Past That Won’t Rest: Images of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi—will be on display at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts Gallery.
A Past That Won’t Rest: Images of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi is a collection of black and white photographs depicting iconic events of the Civil Rights Movement, taken by the late Jim Lucas between 1964 and 1968. These beautifully shot and meticulously restored images capture the courage and persistence of those who organized to overcome educational and economic oppression. The photos are a testament to the Ku Klux Klan’s rampant violence and murderous attacks on African Americans, Jewish members of the community, and white people who dared to speak out against Jim Crow laws.
In 1964, Lucas was a college student in Jackson, Mississippi and a young practicing photojournalist when Freedom Summer exploded. He found himself in the middle of events that would command the attention of the world. He had an instinctive eye for framing shots that visually told the story and he became a stringer for Time, Life (magazine), and the Associated Press.
As stated by Marian Wright Edelman, “Jim Lucas had extraordinary, unusual access on the ground in Mississippi. For those of us who were there, the moments he captured are a powerful, sometimes painful, priceless gift.” Through his artistry, Lucas’ work documents the search for three missing civil rights workers in Neshoba County, the Meredith March Against Fear, and Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta, among others. His evocative photographs captured a human sensibility and sensitivity, providing a visual legacy of the struggle for equal rights throughout the South during this tumultuous time.
Lucas lost his life in a car accident in 1980. Jane Hearn, his wife preserved and archived his photographs at the time of his death. Hearn a resident of Beaufort, SC, curated this traveling exhibition that premiered at the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer held by the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi at Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS. A Past That Won’t Rest then traveled to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN and to the Brown v. Board of Education Historic Site in Topeka, KS, before being shown in this South Carolina venue.
In 2018, the University Press of Mississippi published a book by the same name and accompanies the exhibit with over fifty additional photographs and scholarly essays that frame the history and context of the civil rights era. Copies of the book will be available at the opening reception and are also for purchase at Nevermore Books, 702 Craven Street, Beaufort, SC (www.nevermorebooks.com) or through the University Press of Mississippi (www.upress.state.ms.us).
Gallery hours are from February 26 – March 17, 2019, Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and during evening events at the Center.
An opening reception and book signing will be held on Thursday, February 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.