On Friday, November 30th, 2018, at 7 p.m., visit the Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Drive, for the launch of the new traveling exhibit, Opening Our Future.
This exhibit honors local Civil Rights heroes.
On Feb. 28, 1960, nine black students from Lincoln High School sat down at the Colonial Drug Store counter, asking for the same service that whites received. Those young men, now known as the “Chapel Hill Nine,” created the spark for Chapel Hill’s Civil Rights Movement, a struggle that lasted throughout the 1960s. At 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, the community is invited to gather at Chapel Hill Public Library to honor the Chapel Hill Nine and celebrate the launch of Opening Our Future, a new traveling exhibit about this period of our community’s history.
The exhibit is one of the outcomes of the Town’s Historic Civil Rights Commemorations Task Force, created by Mayor Pam Hemminger in 2017 and charged with creating a timeline of the people, events, and places that were a part of the local struggle for equality and justice. Comprising history makers, storytellers, educators and Town staff, the task force gathered both familiar and lesser known stories from the civil rights struggle in Chapel Hill.
The Opening Our Future exhibit includes a mobile, large-format timeline, a set of commemorative trading cards, and an interactive website. After Friday’s unveiling, the exhibit will be available for schools, community groups, and others to borrow and display.
Molly Luby, special projects coordinator at Chapel Hill Public Library, says the project is meant to be flexible and future facing. “Finding and sharing stories that have not been fully told was a major focus of the Task Force. We hope that the community will continue to share stories, contribute content, and be inspired to continue the fight for equality and justice.”
Dr. Reginald Hildebrand, retired UNC professor and task force member, echoes a similar sentiment in the opening statement of the trading cards, noting “The struggle for freedom and an inclusive community has no beginning and no end. It is fought on many fronts, in many ways, and has many heroes, the names of most of whom we will never know.”
In addition to displaying the timeline and trading cards, the Opening Our Future reception will feature remarks from members of the task force and the living members of the Chapel Hill Nine.
Opening Our Future is supported by the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library as well as grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.