Frederick Douglass, Queen Latifah among images in African American Museum’s first special exhibition

The “More Than a Picture” exhibit at the new African American Museum will include this photo by James Karales, taken March 21, 1965, during the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. (Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, gift of Monica Karales and the estate of James Karales © Estate of James Karales)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will open its first special exhibition next month, featuring photographs of historical figures and key events in African American life.

Opening May 5, “More Than a Picture” will include 150 photographs from the museum’s collection, including portraits of Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois and Queen Latifah, as well as images from the civil rights movement and Hurricane Katrina. The show also will feature images of recent protests in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore.

“The power of photographs is not only the ability to depict events but to bring human scale to those experiences,” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “Photography plays an important role in constructing memory. Images act not only as repositories of memory but also as stimulants and beacons for remembering.”

The museum — a must stop for locals and visitors — has welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors since opening to great fanfare Sept. 24. Crowds are expected to grow during peak spring and summer seasons.

The temporary show will be on view in the Special Exhibitions Gallery on the museum’s concourse level, a space that was not ready when the museum opened.


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