Feature Photo: Robert Rynkiewicz, Atlantic City Library Director; Maisha Moore, CRDA Deputy Executive Director; Maryam Sarhan, NAACP – Atlantic City Branch Treasurer; Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz; India Still, Deputy Executive Director of the DCA’s Atlantic City Initiatives Project Office; Sean Pattwell. CRDA Executive Director, Assemblywoman Claire Swift and Assemblyman Don Guardian. Photo courtesy of Atlantic City Free Public Library
AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — The Atlantic City Free Public Library on Wednesday unveiled its new “Summer of Freedom” exhibit at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall lobby in celebration of the NAACP National Convention coming to town next week.
The exhibit will be part of the Atlantic City Experience that will be open to visitors during the NAACP convention at the historic convention hall, the former longtime home of the Miss America Pageant.
The Summer of Freedom exhibit illustrates the Civil Rights struggle to seat the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegates at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Atlantic City, with protests led by Fannie Lou Hamer and many others.
The exhibit is a mixture of photographs and artifacts from the convention. Each item displayed conveys the fight for equal rights within the United States.
Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz said he was a sophomore in high school when Famer came to Atlantic City, and he was involved in a demonstration in support of her and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
“This is an educational, informative, exciting display, and I hope we will get people to come see it – especially young people – to get a feel for what happened,” Shabazz said in a statement released by the library.
The exhibit curators are Atlantic City historian Vicki Gold Levi and Atlantic City Library archivist Jacqueline Silver-Morillo.
Silver-Morillo and her family have Atlantic City roots, which only added to the exhibit’s significance on a personal level.
“When I first saw the completed exhibit, standing here in the empty wing, I was in awe of seeing people who look like me on a wall for all the world to see,” she said. “It made me want to cry to see where we have been and where we still need to go.”
ACX, which is presented by the library, is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free. Please check the Boardwalk Hall schedule as the exhibit might be closed at times due to events taking place at the venue.
Opened in July 2019 and initially funded by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, ACX showcases the culturally diverse heritage and exciting history of Atlantic City through a series of topical exhibits and nostalgic timelines. Many of the items displayed are from the library’s extensive Atlantic City Heritage Collections and the former Atlantic City Historical Museum, which the library operated from 2012-16.
The Summer of Freedom exhibit was funded primarily by the library and its foundation.
Please call Silver-Morillo at (609) 345-2269, ext. 3063, for more information about ACX, or visit acexperienceexhibit.org.
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