Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

Social work professor Yolanda Padilla’s UGS class ‘How To Change the World’ tours the March to Freedom exhibit at the Lyndon Baynes Johnson Presidential Library on Tuesday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Jack DuFon | Daily Texan Staff

An exhibit honoring the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, one of America’s most pivotal civil rights events, is now on display at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. 

The first half of the exhibit, “March to Freedom,” features photos, documents and videos from the Selma-to-Montgomery marches that occurred from March 7–25, 1965. The marches, which civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis led, were vital to the national support of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that ultimately led to its passage. 

The second half of the exhibit displays photos from the 2014 Civil Rights Summit in Austin, which took place at the LBJ Library. President Barack Obama and Lewis, who is now a U.S. representative from Georgia, both attended the Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Don Carleton — the executive director of the Briscoe Center for American History, which houses many of the photos that were selected for the exhibit — said it was symbolic to show photos from both the 1965 marches and the Civil Rights Summit. 

“There’s beautiful symmetry in having a photo [at the exhibit] of John Lewis, who was beaten in those marches, hugging President Obama 50 years later,” Carleton said. “[The University] has been in the business of promoting African-American history and documenting it for a long time.” 

The exhibit has a powerful message that should reach American generations both past and present, according to Ben Wright, public affairs officer for the Briscoe Center. 

“The photos, images and documents are a reminder to us all about the triumphs and tragedy of the 1960s and of the civil rights movement,” said Wright. “There was horrendous brutality and intimidation, and, yet, there is also encouragement, hope and progress. We see those together in the exhibit.”

Displays such as “March to Freedom” create a more inclusive university environment for underrepresented minority students, said Khady Diack, a human development and family sciences junior and member of UT’s Afrikan Americans Affairs organization.

“I feel like, [at UT], I am very unrepresented since African-Americans are less than 5 percent of the total University population,” Diack said. “To have a bit of our history displayed and represented is very important.”

Diack said she believes UT could do more to represent African-Americans.

“I want the University to do more things like this because one of the reasons more African-Americans don’t come here is because they feel like it’s an underrepresented community,” Diack said.

The exhibit will be on display until April 12.

 

A construction worker carries supplies down the staircase in the Great Hall of the LBJ Presidential Library. The library is in the final phase of a major redesign and will reopen on Dec 22, which would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday (LBJ Library photo by Lauren Gerson).

The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is getting a new look later this month — and it is coming with a price.

When the LBJ Presidential Library unveils its new exhibit Dec. 22, the library will begin charging admission. Anne Wheeler, spokesperson for the LBJ library, said admission will remain free for students, staff and faculty with a UT ID. Admission prices for others range from $3 to $8. Previously, the LBJ Presidential Library was the only one of 13 presidential libraries that offered free admission. 

Admission to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum ranges from $3 to $6 while admission to the John F. Kennedy Museum ranges from $9 to $12.

Starting in December 2011, the library began undergoing a $10 million project by the Gallagher & Associates design studio to offer more interactive, technological exhibits.

Mark K. Updegrove, LBJ Library director, said the redesign of the library will provide context to legislation passed during the Johnson administration.

“Our goal is for visitors to better understand this largely misunderstood president,” Updegrove said in a statement. “Exhibits will explore all aspects of Johnson’s presidency, including the Vietnam War. President Johnson insisted that the LBJ Library present an unvarnished look at his Presidency — the triumphs and the turmoil. Now we share this story with new generations.”

During the design of the new exhibit, the library consulted with historians in order to ensure both accuracy and independency.

Some of the new features include access to previously-unavailable private telephone calls, an interactive decision-making Vietnam exhibit and more social media interactivity.

“President Johnson wanted the Library to use the best technology available, giving visitors a comprehensive, engaging experience,” Larry Temple, chairman of the LBJ Foundation, said in a statement.

Along with never-before-heard audio, the library is also now offering new videos on the Johnson administration.

Printed on Friday, December 7, 2012 as: LBJ Library opens new exhibits, will begin charging for admission