Exhibit features the photography of Art Shay of the Fayette County, Tennessee, Civil Rights Movement
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 20, 2022) — The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis and the Memphis International Airport’s co-hosted exhibit featuring the Fayette County Civil Rights Movement through the photographs of freelance photographer Art Shay is now open to the public. The photographs are displayed between the B and C ticketing lobbies, across from the Global Entry Enrollment Center, at Memphis International Airport. The exhibit will be on display until October 2023. The public can view the exhibit without purchasing a ticket or going through the TSA security checkpoints.
The Memphis International Airport and the Hooks Institute announced the launch of the exhibit at a press conference on Oct. 20 at 10 a.m.
“We are honored to partner with the Hooks Institute to display the compelling work of Art Shay,” said Scott Brockman, President and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “We want our airport to reflect the Memphis community, and these photographs highlight the crucial role that this great region played in the civil rights movement.”
About the Exhibit
The exhibition features photographs from free-lance photographer Art Shay (1922-2018) who in March 1965 documented the Fayette County, Tennessee Civil Rights Movement. Shay, a Chicago-based photographer, photographed the rich and famous. His photographs appeared in LIFE Magazine, Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine and other publications. During the 1960s, Shay also photographed America’s landmark civil rights movement.
The Hooks Institute extends its gratitude to Richard Shay ( the son of Art Shay), and Jeff Dembo, representatives for the estate of Art Shay for loaning this photography exhibit to the Hooks Institute.
About the Fayette County Civil Rights Movement
Fayette County, Tennessee is located approximately 50 miles east of Memphis, Tennessee. The Fayette County, Tennessee Civil Rights Movement took place from 1959 into the early 1970s In 1959, the initial goal of that movement was to register African Americans to vote. However, when they registered many black residents, many of whom were sharecroppers on farms owned by whites, they were evicted from housing that had been homes to many families for generations. Ultimately, many evicted families moved on to the farms of two African American landowners, with some living in erected tents from January 1960 to April 1963. These tents became known both in the United States and internationally as “Tent City.”
Fayette County activists entered the 1960s with an urgent civil rights agenda to desegregate public schools and public establishments; to elect officials who also represented the interest of the African American community; and to economically uplift African Americans. Federal intervention by President John F. Kennedy, the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, and support from local and national civil rights and labor organizations aided Fayette County civil rights activists in their quest to secure basic civil rights. The Fayette County Movement remains relevant to the struggle for voting rights and civil rights today.
About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach; funding faculty research initiatives on community issues; implementing community service projects; hosting conferences, symposia and lectures; and promoting local and national scholarship on civil and human rights. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.
For more information, visit memphis.edu/benhooks.