Pennsylvania College Gets 3,000-Work Gift Rich in Civil Rights Movement Photography

Pennsylvania College Gets 3,000-Work Gift Rich in Civil Rights Movement Photography

New York financier Bennett J. Goodman has gifted a collection of civil rights movement–era photography worth $10 million to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. The collection will be housed at the college’s Kirby Art Center.

The gift includes more than 1,600 photographs taken by Associated Press photographers such as John Rous, Stephan Shames, and Robert S. Oaks taken between the 1950s and 1980s. Among the events pictured in these photographs are race riots across the U.S. in 1967, the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and the Wounded Knee occupation in 1973. Also in the collection are images of historical figures, including Martin Luther King Jr., who is shown giving the last sermon before his assassination in 1958, as well as Rosa Parks and Thurgood Marshall.

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Goodman, a former Blackstone executive who serves as a trustee at the Whitney Museum in New York, amassed the collection with his wife Meg over the course of a decade.

“These photographs remind us of the long and unfinished process of promoting equal justice for all Americans,” Goodman said in a statement. “It is my hope that during a time of great divide in our country, this collection will serve as a catalyst to foster more dialogue in our national pursuit to create a more perfect union.”

Another 1,400 images taken by international photojournalists—including British photographer George Rodger, who spent part of his career documenting Indigenous tribes in South Sudan—are also part of the gift. Images from the most recent gift will be showcased in a 2022 exhibition at the school’s Williams Center for the Arts next spring.

This is not the first gift that Goodman has made to his alma mater. He recently gave the school works by photographs between 2019 and 2019. That grouping is worth $5 million.

Lafayette president Nicole Farmer Hurd said in a statement, “This generous gift from the Goodmans will not only enhance our academic offerings, but will allow us to continue to reflect and create spaces that will foster conversations about our journey to advance a more just and inclusive world.”

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