It is hard to believe it has been 50 years since 1963. That tumultuous year seems engraved in our memories. The Monroe Gallery of Photography on Don Gaspar is opening “Photographs from 1963,”a major exhibition of shots from one of the most pivotal years in U. S. history. The exhibition opens with a public reception from 5 to 7 p.m. today.
Gallery co-owner Michelle Monroe said 1963 was a year of change: “change in leadership and social change.”
“1963 ran the gamut of human emotion and human endeavor,” Monroe said in an exhibition statement. “It was a year that began with high hopes for easing of international tensions, a year that sustained a terrible period of shock and mourning and ended with a nation and a world community coming to understand a new maturity in its ability to cope with sudden and enormously difficult circumstances.”
“As the year began, George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama, and during his inauguration address he stated, ‘Segregation now; segregation tomorrow; segregation forever!’,” Monroe recalled. “The year would continue: the U.S. performs the first nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site; the Beatles release ‘Please Please Me;’ the Birmingham police use dogs and cattle prods on peaceful demonstrators; and then there are church bomb attacks in Birmingham and, later, riots. President John F. Kennedy signs a law for equal pay for equal work for men and women as Gov. Wallace tries to prevent blacks registering at University of Alabama. Gov Wallace later prevents the integration of Tuskegee High School as James Meredith is awarded a bachelor’s degree by the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), becoming the first black man to graduate from the school, and John F. Kennedy says segregation is morally wrong and that it is ‘time to act.’ Just hours after President Kennedy’s speech, civil rights activist Medgar Evers pulls into his driveway after returning from a meeting with NAACP lawyers and is struck in the back with a bullet and killed.
“In 1963, President Kennedy visits West Berlin and delivers the ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ (I am a Berliner) speech; the major league baseball All Star MVP is Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants; the Los Angeles Dodgers sweep the New York Yankees in the 60th World Series; ‘Cleopatra’ premieres in New York City, and 1963 draws to a close with President Kennedy assassinated. And on Dec. 26 the Beatles release ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’/'I Saw Her Standing There.’
“These and other events marked the year as a benchmark of unrest, tumult, and change, and all are represented in ‘Photographs from 1963,’” Monroe added. “We have seen many of these photographs numerous times in newspapers, magazines, books and documentaries. Universally relevant, they reflect the past, the present, and the changing times. These unforgettable images are imbedded in our collective consciousness; they are defining moments chronicling our shared history. The photographers in this exhibition have captured dramatic moments in a remarkable year, and illustrate the power of photography to inform, persuade, enlighten and enrich the viewer’s life.”
Photographs in this show are the work of a select group of photojournalists, many of whom worked for TIME and LIFE magazines. They include Charles Moore, Ernest Withers, Bill Eppridge, Steve Schapiro, Bob Gomel, Francis Miller, Stan Stearns and Eddie Adams.
If you go WHAT: “Photographs from 1963″
WHEN: Today through June 30; reception 5-7 p.m. today
WHERE: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar
CONTACT: (505) 992-0800