Renovations

New look. New exhibits. Same mission.

In 2013 and 2014, the National Civil Rights Museum underwent a $27.5 million renovation to further support its mission of education, information and inspiration.

The renovation — the museum's first since opening in 1991 – was significant, adding more than 40 new films, oral histories and interactive media to the museum's already robust collection of artifacts and exhibits. In addition, the museum's updated, modern design reminds visitors of its charge to keep pushing civil rights issues forward, while a 7,000-pound bronze signature statue, Movement to Overcome, is featured in front of the grand staircase in the new lobby to mark the struggles of previous generations.

The renovated National Civil Rights Museum — which is unveiled to the public on the anniversary weekend of the assassination of civil rights leader of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act — would not be possible without the knowledge and generosity of many people, businesses and organizations. The museum staff collaborated closely with its renovation design team and national scholar review committee on holistic advice and counsel for the development.

The renovation project team is comprised of Howard + Revis Design Services, exhibition design and project management; 1220, exhibition fabrication and installation; Self Tucker Architects, architectural project management and design; Electrosonic, multimedia technical design and installation audio visual systems design and integration; Cortina Productions, media design and production; Second Story, media design and production; Flintco Constructive Solutions, building construction; and JPA, site design.

The 24-member national scholar review committee was tasked with interpretive plan development and review of the exhibits' content. Primary advising scholars were Dr. Stephanie Shaw, professor of History, Ohio State University, who specializes in 19th century and early 20th century history; Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, associate professor of History, Ohio State University, late 20th century history specialist relating to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements; Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, associate professor of Art History, University of Memphis; and Daniel Kiel, Law Professor, Cecil B. Humphreys School of Law, University of Memphis.

Learn more about individual national scholar review committee members below.

PRIMARY ADVISiNG SCHOLARS – EXHIBIT DEVELOPMENT

Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries Associate Professor of History at Ohio State University. Dr. Jeffries also works with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Dr. Jeffries received his bachelor's degree from Morehouse College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. As a historian, he focuses on twentieth-century African American history, relating to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. His first book, "Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama's Black Belt,  published in 2009, tells the local story of community members and SNCC organizers, whose brave actions and contributions gave rise to the Black Power era in the United States. Additionally, Dr. Jeffries stands as the primary script writer for the exhibits at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Dr. Stephanie Shaw Professor of History at Ohio State University. She teaches African American history, with a focus on African American women. Dr. Shaw earned her B.A. from North Carolina Central University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Her first book, What a Woman Ought to Be and To Do: Black Professional Woman Workers during the Jim Crow Era (1996) received recognition as an "Outstanding Book  by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America. Additionally, her article "Using the W.P.A. Ex-Slave Narratives to Study the Great Depression  received the Green-Ramsdell Award for Best Article from the Journal of Southern History. She is currently working on a volume about female slaves in the nineteenth-century South, tentatively titled, "Grandmothers, Granny Women, and Old Aunts: Rethinking Slave Families and Communities in the Nineteenth-Century South. 

Interpretive Plan Development – Advising Scholars

Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries(see above)

Dr. Stephanie Shaw(see above)

Dr. Charles McKinney Associate Professor at Rhodes University. Dr. McKinney is currently the Director of the African American Studies program at Rhodes University. He earned his bachelor of the arts degree from Morehouse College and then went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University in North Carolina. He teaches courses related to the African American experience in the United States. McKinney's most recent work was published in 2010 and deals with the Civil Rights Movement in rural North Carolina. It is entitled "Greater Freedom: The Evolution of a Civil Rights Movement in Wilson, North Carolina. 

Dt. Vincent Harding Professor Emeritus of Religion and Social Transformation at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Harding is one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. During the 1960s, he worked with different organizations, such as SNCC, SCLC, and CORE, protesting anti-segregation in the south. He drafted many of Martin Luther King's speeches, including his "A Time to Break Silence  speech, which spoke out against the war in Vietnam. He was a consultant on the "Eyes on the Prize  television feature done by PBS. He also served as the first Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center. In 1996, he published a series of entitled, "Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero,  which discusses the years leading up to King's death and moving beyond the "I Have a Dream  speech. Dr. Harding and his wife founded the Veterans of Hope initiative in 1997, with the goal of promoting social change on the basis of non-violence and grassroots movements.

2011 DESIGN DEVELOPMENT PHASE REVIEW –
SCHOLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MUSICOLOGY

Bob Santelli Executive Director, Grammy Museum, Los Angeles. From 2000-2008, Santelli was the Experience Music Project as CEO and artistic director; guided the creation of more than 30 exhibits including the Bob Dylan's American Journey, 19561966 exhibit. From 1993-2000, Santelli was in charge of education and public programs at the Rock Hall. A noted blues and rock historian, Santelli has authored and edited more than a dozen books, The Big Book Of Blues, The Bob Dylan Scrapbook, and his most recent work, Greetings From E Street: The Story Of Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band.

LEGAL SCHOLAR

Dr. Tim Huebner Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Rhodes College. He has been the Director of the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies since 2002.Dr. Huebner earned his B.A. at the University of Miami and his M.A. & Ph.D. at the University of Florida. He is a specialist in the constitutional and legal history of the American South and has written/edited the following books: The Southern Judicial Tradition: State Judges and Sectional Distinctiveness, 1790-1890 (1999) and The Taney Court: Justices, Rulings, Legacy (2003), Major Problems in American Constitutional History (co-editor with Kermit L. Hall, 2010).

WOMEN'S HISTORY

Dr. Valinda Littlefield Associate professor of History at the University of South Carolina. She earned her bachelors of arts degree in political science and history at North Carolina Central University. She graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2003. She specialized in African-American History since 1815 and U.S. National & History of Education. She is the co-editor of South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times Volume One (2009). Volumes two and three are in progress. From 2002-2007 Dr. Littlefield was the Associate Director of Curriculum & Instruction and Programming African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Littlefield has also been an active contributor to a number of professional organizations and societies including the History of Education Society, Organization of American Historians, Southern Historical Association, and Southern Women Historians Association. Dr. Littlefield has been on the South Carolina State Museum Board of Trustees since 2008 and the South Carolina Review Board for the National Register of Historic Places since 2006.

POLITICAL HISTORY

Dr. Leslie McLemore McLemore is an authority on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and was vice-chair of its original delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. McLemore has a Ph.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts, M.A. degree from Atlanta University and B.A. degree from Rust College, and is an authority on the Southern civil rights movement and social movements in Africa. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African American Research at Harvard University and The Institute for Southern History at John Hopkins University.He also has served as acting director of the University Center in Jackson, chair of the Mississippi Humanities Council, vice-chair of the Board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and president of the Council of Historically Black Graduate Schools. McLemore has devoted time to working with and mentoring young people and is the immediate past president of the Jackson Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America who are mentoring African American males in 10 different public schools in Jackson.

MARTIN LUTHER KING SCHOLAR

Dr. Clayborne Carson Stanford University, Martin Luther King Jr. Research & Education Institute in California. Dr. Clayborne Carson has devoted his professional life to the study of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the movements King inspired. Since receiving his doctorate from UCLA in 1975, Dr. Carson has taught at Stanford University, where he is now professor of history and founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute.

GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING

Dr. John Dittmer Professor Emeritus at DePauw University, and received all of his degrees from Indiana University. He has authored numerous books and articles, including Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi and Black Georgia in the Progressive Era, 1900-1920. He won the Bancroft Prize and the Lilian Smith Book Award for Local People, and has won numerous other awards and fellowships for his research. In addition, he has served as a consultant for several documentaries including: "Freedom Summer,  "America's War on Poverty,  "Freedom on My Mind,  and "Eyes on the Prize.  He has held fellowships from the NEH, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. Before joining the faculty at DePauw he held an appointment at Tougaloo College. He also held visiting appointments at Brown and MIT.

Dr. Michael K. Honey Professor at University of Washington, Tacoma. Michael Honey is an educator who combines scholarship with civic engagement. He teaches African-American, civil rights and labor history and specializes in work on Martin Luther King, Jr. Honey holds the Fred T. and Dorothy G. Haley Endowed Professorship in the Humanities at the University of Washington, Tacoma (UWT) and previously served as the Harry Bridges Chair of Labor Studies for the University of Washington and as President of the Labor and Working-Class History Association.

2012 EXHIBIT SCRIPT REVIEW –
SCHOLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

SLAVERY & CULTURE OF RESISTANCE

Dr. Earnestine Jenkins– Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Memphis. PhD. 1997: History/African/Ethiopian focus/Comparative Black History Program. Michigan State University. MA. 1986: Art History. University of Memphis. BFA. 1979: Spelman College. Ms. Jenkins established Graduate concentration of Art History: Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora. Other areas of study includes: Art and visual cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora; African American cinema; art and politics in 19th and 20th century Ethiopia; race, gender, and representation within the context of colonialism and empire; African American photographers and photographic culture; masculinity and representation; history of African Americans in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Thavolia Glymph– Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and History at Duke University. Professor Glymph is the author of several essays on slavery, emancipation and the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, economic history, and southern women. She is co-editor of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1861, ser. 1, vol. 1; The Documentary of History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, ser. 1, vol. 3; The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Lower South and Essays on the Postbellum Southern Economy. Her most recently published work is Out Of the House of Bondage: The transformation of the Plantation Household (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Her current writing and research focuses on women in the Civil War, the geography of the plantation household and Civil War veterans in Egypt

RISE OF AND COMBATING JIM CROW

Dr. Leslie Brown– Associate Professor of History at Williams College

She attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where she received a B.A in sociology and English. She returned to graduate school in 1990, and received a certificate in Women's Studies and her A. M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Duke University. From 1990-1995 she co-coordinated "Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South", a collaborative research and curriculum project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. She is the author of Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Urban South. She is at work currently on several projects, including a monograph on African American women and migration, a book about the black life in the segregated south, an edited collection of interviews from the Behind the Veil Project, and a compilation of writing and speeches by Shirley Chisholm.

BROWN V. BOARD

Daniel Kiel– Law Professor at the Cecil B. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis Tennessee. Professor Kiel's research focuses on issues of race and education, and his writing has appeared in law reviews, bar journals, and local and national newspapers. Specifically, Prof. Kiel's work examines the use of law to produce more equitable access to high quality education, including examination both of the era of desegregation as well as modern efforts towards improved educational opportunities. Kiel built upon his work researching school desegregation in Memphis through an oral history project that culminated in The Memphis 13, a documentary film he wrote, co-produced, and directed collecting the stories of the students involved in the initial desegregation of Memphis City Schools in 1961. The film premiered at the National Civil Rights Museum on the 50th anniversary of that historic event.

MONTGOMERY

Dr. Clayborne Carson– Selected in 1985 by the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King to edit and publish the papers of her late husband, Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson has devoted most his professional life to the study of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the movements King inspired. Under his direction, the King Papers Project has produced six volumes of a definitive, comprehensive edition of speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications, and unpublished writings. Dr. Carson has also edited numerous other books based on King's papers. In 2005 the King Papers Project became part of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, with Dr. Carson serving as the institute's founding director. A member of Stanford's department of history since receiving his doctorate from UCLA in 1975, Carson has also served as visiting professor or visiting fellow at American University, the University of California, Berkeley, Duke University, Emory University, Harvard University, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where during 2009 he was Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of that institution's King Collection.

SIT-INS

Dr. Wesley Hogan– Associate Professor of History at Virginia State University.

Author of Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC's Dream for a New America

PhD in United States History in 2000. Sub-field in Comparative History of Race and Ethnicity. Research areas include Social Movements; Youth Leadership; Community Organizing; Twentieth Century US history; Peace & Conflict studies.

FREEDOM RIDES

Dr. Raymond Arsenault Author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History and Program Advisor of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where he has taught since 1980. Dr. Arsenault is a specialist in the political, social, and environmental history of the American South, he has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, and at the Universite d'Angers, in France, where he was a Fulbright Lecturer in 1984-85. Arsenault is widely recognized for his Award-winning book and documentary Freedom Riders, which was broadcasted on PBS American Experience in May 2011.

MISSISSIPPI

Dr. John Dittmer(see above)

ALBANY

Dr. Lee Formwalt– Lee Formwalt, former executive director of the Albany Civil Rights Institute, and former professor of history at Albany State University, received his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America in 1977. He spent the next twenty years teaching history at Albany State University in rural Georgia. Through the use of local courthouse records in his teaching, he became involved in doing local history and became strongly connected to the community. This subsequently led to his writing for the local newspaper, helping to establish a civil rights museum, and coordinating a state humanities council conference on the history of the civil rights movement. Dr. Formwalt was executive director of the Organization of American Historians from 1999-2009, a consultant on the development of permanent exhibits at the Albany Civil Rights Institute, and docent script writer for this museum.

BIRMINGHAM

Dr. Glenn T. Eskew– Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Georgia State University. He is the author of But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle (1997). He is also the Project Director for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Dr. Eskew brings a wealth of knowledge and personal insights to the overall Workshop experience. He will connect freedom struggles in Alabama to events across the nation and allow participants to paint a broader picture in their historic mind of the impact of the events that took place in Alabama on the Modern Civil Rights Movement and the nation.

MARCH ON WASHINGTON

Dr. Thomas F. Jackson– Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Author of From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice. PhD from Stanford University, 1994. Research area interests includes Southern and national civil rights politics in light of local and human rights dimensions of the wider black freedom movement; Special attention to leadership, economics, local movements, and white resistance. Author of From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice.

FREEDOM SUMMER

Dr. Charles M. Payne Author of I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. The Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where he is also an affiliate of the Urban Education Institute. His interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history. Payne was founding director of the Urban Education Project in Orange, New Jersey, a nonprofit community center that broadens educational experiences for urban youngsters. He has taught at Southern University, Williams College, Northwestern University and Duke University. Payne holds a bachelor's degree in Afro-American studies from Syracuse University and a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern.

SELMA

Dr. David J. Garrow– Research Professor of History and Law at the University of Pittsburgh, holding a joint appointment with Pitt Law and the Department of History. Author of numerous books, including Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Protest at Selma. Prior to joining Pitt Law, Garrow was a Senior Research Fellow at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Morrow, 1986; HarperCollins paperback, 2004), won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the seventh annual Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Garrow is also the author of The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Norton, 1981) and Protest at Selma (Yale University Press, 1978). He served as a senior advisor for Eyes on the Prize, the award-winning PBS television history of the American Black freedom struggle, and as editorial advisor for the Library of America's two-volume Reporting Civil Rights (2003).

VOTING RIGHTS ACT

Dr. Steven Lawson Author of numerous books including Black Ballots: Voting Rights in the South, 1944-1969. Professor Emeritus of History at Rutgers University. Lawson's main areas of research have been the history of the civil rights movement, especially the expansion of black voting rights and black politics. My major publications include: Black Ballots: Voting Rights in the South, 1944-1969; In Pursuit of Power: Southern Blacks and Electoral Politics, 1965-1982; running for Freedom: Civil Rights and Black Politics in America Since 1941; and Debating the Civil Rights Movement.

BLACK POWER & BLACK PRIDE

Dr. Yohuru Williams– Associate Professor of African-American history at Fairfield University. Author of Liberated Territory (co-editor); In Search of the Black Panther Party (co-editor); and Black Politic, White Power. Dr. Williams is the author of Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (Blackwell, 2006) and Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook (Corwin, 2008). He is the editor of A Constant Struggle: African-American History from 1865 to the Present, Documents and Essays (Kendall Hunt, 2002). Dr. Williams also served as an adviser on the popular civil rights reader putting the Movement Back into Teaching Civil Rights.

MEMPHIS

Dr. Michael Honey(see above)

Dr. Earnestine Jenkins(see above)

CURRICULUM and TOUR SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

Dr. Leslie B. McLemore Professor Emeritus, Jackson State University

Leslie Burl McLemore has served in several capacities during his tenure at Jackson State University. Dr. McLemore served as Interim President of the University in 2010. Currently, Dr. McLemore serves as the Director of the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy at Jackson State University. He was Founding Chair of the Department of Political Science, as well as Former Dean of the Graduate School and Founding Director of the Office of Research Administration. Dr. McLemore also served as Acting Director of the University Center in Jackson. He is a past chair of the Mississippi Humanities Council and past vice-chair of the Board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Dr. Tim Huebner(see above)