"I Am a Man," the title for the Center for the Study of the American South’s next photography exhibit, is named after the phrase popularized by the famous sanitation strike in Memphis, Tenn. in 1968.
The exhibit shows the events leading up to Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. "I Am a Man" references the strike's motto in the famous protest leading up to King's assassination.
CSAS collected photographs from all over the South that showcases the Civil Rights Movement, specifically in the 1960s. With over 7,000 photographs collected originally for the "I Am a Man" exhibit, CSAS narrowed it down to a little over 100 pictures, said Bill Ferris, the lead researcher of the exhibit. The photos range from the Greensboro sit-ins to KKK rallies disrupted by Native Americans.
On Feb. 8, the "I Am a Man" photography series will have its opening event. Seasoned photographers Doris Derby and Bruce Roberts will be special guests.
Roberts started snapping pictures at 13 years old, and now, 50 years later, he’s shared his photos at locations all over the world. When Roberts worked as a photojournalist, he focused his work in showing inequalities.
“We were up to our ankles in a real good story idea,” Roberts said. “I wasn’t so much showing pictures as I was talking about stories.”
The photographer said he wanted to show people that these inequalities really existed. As a white man growing up during the civil rights movement in America, Roberts wanted to open the eyes of many Americans at the time.
“I was able to help many stories that way, including ones I really wanted to do, like the integration in Charlotte,” Roberts said. “I was really photographing what I wanted to and getting them to pay for it.”
One of Roberts' favorite photos in the exhibit is of a little Black boy sitting on a former UNC student's lap from the 1960s.