'Hands Uplifted' exhibit to honor civil rights movement participants

Posted: Tuesday, 02 March 2010

MONTGOMERY—A new permanent exhibit honoring men and women who contributed to the civil rights movement will open this week at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum.

The “Hands Uplifted for Freedom and Justice” exhibit will consist of more than 50 bronze handprints of people who played various roles in the civil rights movement throughout the 50s, 60s and early 70s. Project originator/coordinator Janet Adams of Montgomery said she envisioned the exhibit as a way to honor civil rights movement participants whose service is less widely known.

“For every well-known participant, there were many others whose dedication and service gave the movement its solid base,” Adams said. “These faces in the crowd joined protest organizations, spearheaded student demonstrations, attended rallies, raised their voices in song, sheltered outsiders who came to offer moral support.”

Adams worked with Dr. Gwen Patton, a civil rights participant, author and archivist, to identify individuals to be included in the exhibit. Activists whose handprints will be on display include Ruby Nell Sales from Columbus, Ga., the Reverend Bob Graetz, Judge Thomas Gray and Ameila Boynton Robinson.

The bronze impressions were made by Patty-Cakes International Inc. of Montgomery.

“When I saw the quality of the bronzed products being produced by [Patty-Cakes] it struck me as the ideal way to recognize those persons involved in the movement who are still living: taking their handprints and having them bronzed,” Adams said.

The exhibit will make its debut during an opening celebration at the museum on Thursday, March 4, at 6 p.m. It will open to the public on Friday, March 5. The first 30 hand prints will be on display at opening with the remaining soon to be installed.