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We Shall Not Be Moved: The 50 Anniversary of Tennessee's Civil Rights Sit-ins


A Traveling Exhibition from the Tennessee State Museum February of 2011 ­ May of 2014

Image: Sit-in at Walgreens, downtown Nashville, February 20, 1960. Photographer Jimmy Ellis--Courtesy of The Tennessean

We Shall Not Be Moved, a traveling exhibition developed by the Tennessee State Museum, provides an intimate look at the role Tennessee students played in shaping the modern Civil Rights Movement. Although civil rights history rightfully focuses on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the stories of unsung heroes has remained largely untold. This exhibit lifts these important "foot soldiers" into their rightful place in history, telling their story through relevant artifacts, powerful photographic images, and exciting audio-visual media. Visitors will come away with an understanding of African-American life during Jim Crow that provided the background for the sit-ins, how students were recruited and organized for the purpose of non-violent protest, and how their efforts facilitated permanent social change. We Shall Not Be Moved, is divided into four key areas: 1) Segregation and Resistance ­ This section provides an understanding of the lives of black Tennesseans before and during segregation, showing the tradition of resistance that led to the development of new segregation laws after Reconstruction. 2) Non-Violence Training- Reverends James Lawson and Kelly Miller Smith held non-violence training workshops in Nashville beginning in 1959. They recruited college students, like Diane Nash, James Bevel, Marion Barry, and John Lewis from Nashville colleges. This group chose mass sit-ins as a strategy to end segregation. Downtown counters were chosen because of the humiliating experiences black women faced while shopping when they could not try on clothes before buying them and could not sit at the lunch counter. 3) Sitting-In in Tennessee- This section covers the action phase of the sit-in movement. The Nashville students began their sit-ins in what became the model used for sit-ins across the south. Later Nashville became the first southern city to desegregate its downtown counters. Even though Memphis and Chattanooga adopted Nashville-like models, each area exhibited a localized flavor. Uniquely, the Knoxville group was apparently influenced very little by the Nashville template.

4) Direct Action and the Civil Rights Movement- An unusual number of Tennessee students went on to become leaders in the national civil rights struggle. This portion highlights their involvement in later events as the movement progressed to demonstrate the importance of Tennessee in the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these leaders continue to be active even today. Local History Aspect: Although the major portion of this exhibit covers protests occurring in Tennessee's four major cities, the Tennessee State Museum understands that communities across the state experienced localized civil rights protests. Thus, each venue is encouraged to develop a local component to accompany and enhance the traveling exhibition. The museum can provide assistance to institutions wishing to develop these local stories. The Exhibit: The Tennessee State Museum will furnish 14 graphic panels, original artifacts, four audiovisual DVD discs featuring short sit-ins related films, one stand-alone DVD/monitor set (at secure institutions), cases for original artifacts, exhibition text, and artifact labels. At venues where lack of security is of concern, only panels will be delivered. Reproductions may be substituted for original items in cases where environment, security, or artifact condition adversely affects the ability to display originals. However, every effort will be made to ensure that original artifacts accompany the exhibition. Dates Available: The traveling exhibition opens in the fall of 2010. Normally, the exhibition will remain at each venue for a period of six weeks. We Shall Not Be Moved shall travel until demand ceases. The Tennessee State Museum will make every effort to accommodate the hosting venue's schedule. Rental Fee: Full exhibition using original artifacts and audio/visual equipment will be $500. Exhibition with text panels and DVD discs only will be $250 to $500 depending on travel distance. The Tennessee State Museum will determine what original artifacts can travel based on artifact condition, security and environment. An invoice for rental fees will be sent to each institution prior to installation. Shipping, Insurance, Installation, and Scheduling Requirement: Included in the rental fee are: 1) transportation insurance; 2) delivery and pick-up by the Tennessee State Museum; 3) installation and deinstallation of the exhibition of the exhibition by State Museum staff (with the assistance of at least one staff member provided by each venue.) A certificate of on-site insurance is required and must be submitted to the Tennessee State Museum at least thirty days prior to the exhibition arrival date. A standard American Association of Museums facilities report is also required and must be submitted and approved prior to booking. Light levels must be no higher than 5 foot candles and the exhibition space must be free of natural daylight and possess UV filters on florescent lighting fixtures. These requirements are to protect the original textiles, leather, photographs and paper artifacts in the exhibition. Venues hosting only the text and graphic panel version of the exhibition need not meet these requirements. Space Requirements: The optimum space for We Shall Not Be Moved is an open gallery with a minimum of 400 square feet to accommodate the free standing, pull-out, "Banner-Up" wall system and free standing cases. Each wall panel is approximately 7 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide. A single video unit will also be provided. Three 50" x 22" x 22" display cases will house artifacts pertaining to the exhibit, and one set of stools from W. T. Grant's downtown Nashville store will also be included. Educational/Promotional Materials: The Tennessee State Museum will provide related educational materials in the form of lesson plans that comply with State of Tennessee education standards and promotional brochures for venue use. These will be in the format of handout materials and a CD Rom. Speakers: The curator of the exhibition may be available or can provide a list of qualified historians for public programs related to the exhibition. Fees vary and are not included in the exhibition rental.

Booking Contact: Myers Brown, Curator of History and Extension Services, Tennessee State Museum, 505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37243. Phone: 615-253-0150. Email: [email protected] Exhibit and Historic Information: Graham Perry, Curator of Social History, Tennessee State Museum, 505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37243. Phone: 615-253-0150. Email: [email protected]

Howard High School students sit-in in, Chattanooga, February, 1960. Courtesy of the Chattanooga History Center

Theater Protests in Knoxville, 1963. Courtesy of the Beck Cultural Center.

Maxine Smith during an economic boycott, Memphis, early 1960s. Courtesy of Memphis and Shelby County Library

Estimated Costs for We Shall Not Be Moved 14 Free standing "Banner Up" display wall units Materials for producing graphics Durable Audio/Visual Unit for transport Educational Materials & Promotional Brochures Graphics Labor 3 Stand alone display cases with case supplies Labor for setup and takedown Licensing Grand Total (black figures only) $4000.00 $3500.00 $1000.00 $3500.00 $3000.00 $4500.00 $3200.00 (8 venues per year x 2 people) $300.00 $13,300.00

The Tennessee State Museum is offering We Shall Not Be moved to a number of venues throughout the state, with a number of those institutions having already expressed interest. Prospective venues are listed as follows, although the list is incomplete: Brownsville, TN Delta Cultural Center Chattanooga, TN Chattanooga African American Museum Chattanooga History Center Clarksville, TN Customs House Museum Clinton, TN Green-McAdoo Museum

Elkton (Pulaski), TN Matt Gardner Homestead Museum

Franklin, TN

McLemore House African-American Museum

Knoxville, TN Beck Cultural Exchange Center

East Tennessee Historical Society Museum Knoxville Museum

Henning, TN Alex Haley Birthplace and Museum Memphis, TN Hooks Institute for Social Change National Civil Rights Museum Pink Palace Museum Murfreesboro, TN

Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Center Union City, TN Obion County Museum


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