Exhibit looks at blacks and 1893 World’s Fair
An interactive exhibition examining black Americans’ contributions to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 will open at the African-American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Free and open to the public, “The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition” will be located in Room 207, Addams Hall, 830 S. Halsted St. from June 6 through Oct. 11.
The exhibition, inspired by the same-titled pamphlet co-authored by famed civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, highlights the historical accounts of black Americans’ thoughts, feelings and experiences related to the Chicago’s World’s Fair. In addition, it draws on the 120th anniversary of the exposition to explore how blacks felt about their exclusion from the planning processes, some of the lesser-known contributions of black Chicagoans during that period, and issues concerning ethnic representation within the fair’s exhibits.
“The occasion presents an important opportunity to not only raise questions concerning the fair’s legacy, but also enter contemporary debates over who benefits from large-scale public festivities in Chicago,” says Lori Baptista, director of the African-American Cultural Center at UIC.
An opening reception at the center will be held from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 6. The event will feature living history activities, musical and oratorical performances, and a guided tour of the exhibition. The reception, like the exhibit, is free and open to the public.
In addition to the four-month installation, the project will feature a series of monthly public programs presented in conjunction with Chicago-area institutions, most notably the DuSable Museum of African-American History. Details will be announced at a later date.