The 50thanniversary of the assassination of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr is being marked with an exhibition at the University of Brighton.
‘Freedom’, by award-winning filmmakers Ian McDonald and Geetha J, is a two-part installation – the first being a three-screen installation with footage of King’s acceptance speech when he received an honorary degree from the University of Newcastle in 1967, and newsreel footage of Enoch Powell’s visit to Newcastle, the year before his “Rivers of Blood” speech.
The second is contemporary footage in a single-screen exhibit of the coastline and seascape of Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) at the southernmost tip of India, and the site of a Ghandhi memorial. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, visited this site in 1959 as part of a five-week tour of India. There is also footage of contemporary protest movements against racism in New York and London in 2017.
Ben Roberts, the University’s Artistic Director (Museums and Galleries), said: “This timely exhibition comes in the wake of the nationwide #blacklivesmatter campaign against the police killings of young black men in the USA, and the development of a similar campaign in the UK over the deaths of black men in police custody.
“This is also the 25thanniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence by a gang of white youths in London.
“King’s legacy is one of uncompromising commitment to a continuing campaign against discrimination on racial grounds, whether that discrimination is constitutional, legislative or institutional.”
The exhibition is accompanied by Anti-Racism, Feminism and Anti-Imperialism – the Legacy of 1968,an extended video interview with Tariq Ali, the activist, broadcaster, novelist and playwright, by Tom Hickey, Principal Lecturer in the University’s School of Humanities and joint course leader for BA(Hons) Philosophy, Politics Artand Cultural and Critical Theory MA, Dr Kevin Reynolds, lecturer in the School of Media. The interview will be shown on continuous loop in the exhibition’s reading room.
The free exhibition, billed as a celebration of King’s legacy, runs from 4 to 20 May, 12 – 6pm, in the exhibition gallery in the University’s Grand Parade building.