Thursday, April 13, 2017 was the final day of the Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement Exhibit in the Hofstra Museum. It was also the day that CCE hosted a series of discussions led by CCE Fellows about what these photographs signify and what they mean today. At the “Let’s Talk Activism” Sessions, three themed small group sessions were held throughout the day, focusing on Freedom, Activism, and Resilience. Students reflected on the photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, as described by the Hofstra Museum:
“Based upon Danny Lyon’s memoir, this exhibition brings together the photographs he took from 1962 to 1964 while traveling through the United States documenting the Civil Rights Movement. Lyon began his photographic career as the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a national group of college students who joined together in 1960 after the first sit-in by four African American college students at a North Carolina lunch counter. With this body of work, Danny Lyon helped define a form of photojournalism in which the image maker is deeply and personally embedded in his subject matter.”
Danny Lyon’s work as a college student from years ago lined the walls of the Hofstra Museum as today’s college students contemplated the scenes he captured. Hofstra students from different walks of life on campus, from Greek life to social-politically active student clubs, sat down together to talk about their interpretations of the photographs. The students drew parallels of inequality and police brutality from the past to the present, discussing where they see this in their own lives. The conversations touched on struggle, privilege, and the small changes we can make in our own lives. It is one of many events that CCE hosts on campus to get students talking about today’s issues, and we are very thankful to those who participated and helped organize the day’s discussions.