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"Changing America" Exhibit Reflects Struggle for Liberty and Human Rights

 Changing America exhibit“There are moments in our nation’s history when individuals unite and take courageous steps to fulfill the promise of democracy…”

So begins the narrative on an eight-panel, national exhibit on display through Aug. 22 in the Library Center concourse.

Humbling. Powerful. Personal. That’s how people have described “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.”

“Wow” is a common reaction, too. The graphics are bold. The somber faces of slaves and their children – life-size on the giant panels – draw you in. They were among the nearly 4 million enslaved African-Americans living in the United States before 1863. Five steps away and some 100 years later, the courageous faces of men and women, black and white, fill the photographs snapped during a bold and unifying March on Washington, 1963. The voices and video of civil rights leaders that day echo on a TV screen nearby.

One hundred years apart, yet each side of the exhibit – 1863 and 1963 – conveys the human struggle for liberty and civil rights.

Programs continue this week to further explore these issues:

At 1 p.m. Saturday at Moxie Cinema, admission is free to see “The Loving Story,” an HBO documentary about the Lovings, an interracial couple convicted of miscegenation when they marry. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned bans on interracial marriage.

At 7 p.m. July 22, in the Library Center auditorium, Drury University English professor Richard Schur will examine how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s rhetoric during the Civil Rights Movement transformed the nation.

A complete schedule of events is at, and at all library branches.
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Springfield’s gardens are flourishing, and so is interest in shared gardens. All ages are invited to learn about all the local community garden projects and ways to get involved. Community Gardens in Action is at 7 p.m. Friday JULY 18 at the Park Central Branch Library. Learn from experts from the Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition, DIRT Project, Friends of the Garden and the Master Gardeners of Greene County.

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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