Exhibit recalls 1940 American Negro Exposition

American Negro Exposition Catalogue CoverThe African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago will present “The American Negro Exhibition,” a showcase of objects, images and texts from the landmark 1940 American Negro Exposition in Chicago.


Opening reception: Thursday, Feb. 5, 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Exhibition on view: Through June 30, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and by appointment


UIC African American Cultural Center Library
Addams Hall, Room 200
830 S. Halsted St.


The American Negro Exposition, which ran from July 4 through Sept. 2, 1940, at the Chicago Coliseum, celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and highlighted African Americans’ accomplishments and contributions to American life since the end of the Civil War.

Curated by Jacqueline Yvonne Smith, UIC museum and exhibition studies graduate student and graduate assistant for the African American Cultural Center, the exhibit includes representations of work produced by sculptor Elizabeth Catlett and painter Charles Alston, and highlights the contributions of key black Chicago figures such as journalist and publisher Claude Barnett, founder of the Associated Negro Press agency.

Exhibit visitors are invited to examine “Cavalcade of the American Negro,” a comprehensive book on the history of black Americans from 1865 to 1940, and a catalogue with descriptions of the exposition’s exhibits.

As part of the Feb. 5 opening reception, Johari Jabir, UIC assistant professor of African American studies, will present “What the Law Could Not Do: The Politics of Memory, Movement, and Music in the American Negro Exhibition of 1940,” a 20-minute lecture and demonstration, at 5 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public. More information about the exhibition and related programs is available at (312) 996-9549 or online.

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