Why an exhibit about lawyers?

Few know of the historic and vital contribution lawyers and judges made to the success of the American Civil Rights Movement. In fact, legal and judicial efforts ensuring civil and human rights span the entirety of our nation's existence. Lawyers like Levi Lincoln and Caleb Strong were pursuing civil and human rights as early as the late 1700's. In the 1800's, judges like William Cushing and Henry Kent McCay made equality the order of the day in their courtrooms.

But the concentrated effort of lawyers and judges of the twentieth century deserve special recognition. They issued and advanced the call to establish justice. They pried loose the meaning of equal protection of the laws. And they forged into existence a more perfect unionThese legal figures - men and women, black and white - have remained hidden too long. They should be in plain view, and the work they did and its importance to the nation should be recognized in a manner that is meaningful, lasting, and beneficial. We believe an exhibit is a grand and befitting means of accomplishing this goal and we are beginning with a traveling exhibit we call Under the Color of Law. 

Comprised of four, theme styled immersive exhibits, Under the Color of Law will depict the legal efforts associated with securing and protecting individual rights and liberties beginning in the colonial period and continuing through the modern civil rights movement. The exhibit tour will begin in Georgia - premiering at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta - and will later expand throughout the United States. It will be viewed by more than 1,000,000 people in the first two years and by at least 10,000,000 in its first five years. Museums, law schools, history centers, and other places of public interest will host the exhibit and international venues will also figure in the life cycle of the traveling exhibit. Ultimately, the four exhibits - the first of their kind in civic and cultural education - will, along with supporting collections and artifacts, come to reside in a permanent location under the name The Arc of Justice Pavilion.




"I think the movement would have been a failure without the presence and support of great lawyers. . . I hope that whenever we speak of the movement we would give to the next generation a wider view and greater understanding of their contribution." - Rev. Otis Moss, Jr. 



under the color of law | freedom suits | a more perfect union | on the courthouse steps

More detailed information about the four featured exhibits coming soon. . .