Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & CultureA New Visual History of Civil Rights and Black Power

Struggle: Portraits of Civil Rights and Black Power

October 1, 2014 - January 14, 2015

by Joseph Giordano

for the 50th Anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act
and Voting Rights Act

To commemorate the 50th anniversary years of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, a new exhibition is on view at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Struggle: Portraits of Civil Rights and Black Power by City Paper photographer Joseph Giordano are nearly life-sized portraits of luminaries from these movements that create a new visual history of this era. While historic images of civil rights and Black Power leaders exist through photojournalism, Giordano uses the art of portraiture to capture their prominence as individuals. 

Creating a New Visual History
Visitors will see nearly life-sized portraits of African American Marylanders such as Dr. Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa; Robert Houston, noted civil rights photographer; and Simeon Booker, the first African American reporter at The Washington Post. Other luminaries included are Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, Julian Bond, and Robert Moses.

The subjects in Giordano's portraits are photographed against a white backdrop, so that the viewer has only the individual as the focus. Audiences are then freed to engage with the individual staring back at them. Therein begins the conversation between the subject and the viewer, believes Giordano.

Honoring Unsung Heroes 
The inclusion of leaders of members from both movements is intentional on Giordano's part. "Their goals were different. Their ideas were different. But to someone who's young and grew up as a result of that, I look at the big picture." His "big picture" includes portraits of the "foot soldiers" of the movements and not just the individuals who led from the top. "Julian Bond, Robert Moses couldn't have hit all those houses for voter registration... Talking to Bob Moses at the anniversary of Freedom Summer, it was the 'little people' who moved this whole thing along," says Giordano. 

Opening Day Talk
WHEN: October 1, 2014, 6-8  PM

Meet Joseph Giordano, the artist behind the portraits, on the exhibition's opening day. The special guests are Eddie Conway and Robert Houston. Conway was a Black Panther, recently released from prison after 44 years, and founder of prison mentoring program Friend of a Friend. Houston is a photographer who has documented civil rights struggles for over half a century. His work includes covering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's campaign. $5 program admission includes admission to the exhibition gallery.

About the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture is Baltimore's premier facility highlighting the history and accomplishments of African Americans with a special focus on Maryland's African American community. A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum is the East Coast's largest African American museum, occupying an 82,000 square-foot facility with ample permanent and special exhibition space, interactive learning environments, auditorium, resource center, oral history recording studio, museum shop, café, classrooms, meeting rooms, outside terrace and reception areas. The museum is located at 830 Pratt Street, Baltimore near the Inner Harbor at the corner of Pratt and President Streets. The museum is also accessible on Baltimore's Charm City Circulator Orange and Green Routes. For more information, please call 443-263-1800 or visit

* This program has been financed in part with State Funds from the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.