State Museum Displays Poster Exhibition and Artifacts in Recognition of Black History Month

Release Date: 
Monday, February 4, 2019
Contact Information: 
Contact: Office of Communications Phone: (518) 474-1201


The New York State Museum will open a poster exhibition on February 5, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, detailing the national story of the struggle for black equality after the end of slavery and through the Jim Crow era. In recognition of Black History Month, this poster exhibition created by the New-York Historical Society Museum and Library will be on view in the State Museum’s main lobby through April 28. In addition, artifacts from the State Museum’s African American history collection will also be on display from February 5 through March 3.

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow explores the struggle for full citizenship and racial equality that unfolded in the decades after the Civil War. While Black Americans gained new liberties after the Civil War and the end of slavery, by the early 1900s these liberties had been sabotaged by a repressive racial system known as Jim Crow. The exhibition features eight posters with images of artifacts and documents that chronicle the long strides forward, bruising setbacks, and heroic struggle for equality that took place during these years.

“As we commemorate Black History Month, we remember and honor the achievements, sacrifices and struggles of African Americans throughout our nation's history," said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. "Although some progress has been made, intolerance and discrimination still persist in our society. One of the goals of our My Brother's Keeper initiative is to create culturally diverse and engaging environments that foster respect and trust. Let us work collaboratively to build equity not only in our educational system but in society as well."

“When we remember and learn from the past, we can make our future better and brighter,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “This exhibition at the State Museum prompts us to learn about a chapter in our nation’s past between the Civil War and World War II when African Americans’ rights were not respected. As we learn from this exhibition, we salute and honor the African Americans of the past and present who lead us forward and demonstrate the true meaning of progress and equality.”

“Although slavery was abolished soon after the end of the War, African American men, women and children’s liberties were challenged by the Jim Crow era,” said Regent Roger Tilles, Co-Chair of the Board of Regents Cultural Education Committee. “With this exhibition at the New York State Museum, visitors will learn about the challenges African Americans faced following the Civil War and the struggle for equality that continues to today.

“During Black History Month, we reflect and honor African Americans’ achievements and contributions, despite injustices of the past and present,” said Regent Judith Johnson, Co-Chair of the Board of Regents Cultural Education Committee. “Cultural organizations throughout the state host programs and exhibitions that share the history and stories of African Americans not just during Black History Month but every month of the year. I encourage students to study the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout our country’s history and celebrate diversity – the very thing that makes our country and society strong.”

Classroom materials and an educator guide for the Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow exhibition, developed by the New-York Historical Society Museum and Library, are available for teachers. The curriculum materials include primary and secondary resources, classroom activities and discussion questions.

Images from the exhibition, including artifacts from the State Museum’s collection, are available on the Museum’s website.

The Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow poster exhibition is based on a larger exhibition currently on view at the New-York Historical Society through March 3, 2019. Lead support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Major support provided by the Ford Foundation, Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire, and Agnes Gund.

The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission is free. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website.