For Immediate Release—Monday, October 1, 2007
Assistant Vice President for Communications
SUNY Geneseo to display Mule
Photographer Roland L. Freeman to
GENESEO, N.Y.— To commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Mule Train, award-winning photographer Roland L. Freeman will deliver a multimedia presentation titled, "Photographs and Reminiscences" at 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, in the Alice Austin Theatre in Brodie Hall. His two exhibits— "The Mule Train: A Journey of Hope Remembered" and "Some Things of Value"—will be on display from Oct. 22-Nov. 17 at the Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery in Brodie Hall and the Lockhart Gallery in the McClellan House, respectively.
Following his presentation, there will be an opening reception at 4:30 p.m. in the Lockhart Gallery, located at 26 Main Street in Geneseo. Gallery Director Cynthia Hawkins hopes people understand the significance of this exhibit. "It reminds us of the struggles that the poor in America faced, and in large part continue to face, and of efforts made to make America aware of the plight of its poor, both black and white," she said.
Freeman, a longtime Washington photographer who specializes in documenting the folklore of black America, is the founder and president of The Group for Cultural Documentation. He was recently named a 2007 National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Freeman has also been chosen for the 2007 Bess Lomax Hawes Award, which is the highest honor awarded as part of the NEA National Heritage Fellowship.
The Mule Train was a protest against poverty in the United States. Dr. Martin Luther King created the Poor Peoples Campaign but was assassinated during its planning stages. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference continued King's effort, and The Poor Peoples Committee of approximately 100 people began lobbying and implementation efforts.
On April 29, 1968, campaign leaders were dispersed around the country for formal start-ups of the various caravans destined for Washington, D.C. from the West, South and North. Several weeks later, the Mule Train left Marks, Mississippi on May 13 for the nation's capital, with 15 to 20 mule-drawn wagons and 115 people. By the time participants arrived in Washington, the Mule Train had included 7,000 people who set up a temporary city known as Resurrection City on the Washington Mall.
Freeman, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, began his career as a freelance photographer in the 1960s photographing the Civil Rights Movement. Assignments since then have emphasized photojournalism, commercial work and photo-documentation. For more information, view Freeman's biography at http://www.nea.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/fellow.php?id=2007_04.
Included among his numerous honors and achievements are the Living Legend Award for Distinguished Achievement in Photography from the National Black Arts Festival and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Millsaps College. Freeman also was the first photographer to be awarded a Young Humanist Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is an accomplished author who has composed many books, each of which has been accompanied by a national/international touring exhibit.
During the exhibit period, "The Mule Train" will be open at the Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery in Brodie Hall Sunday-Wednesday, noon-4 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday, 5-8 p.m. "Some Things of Value" will be on display at the Lockhart Gallery in the McClellan House (26 Main Street, Geneseo) Monday-Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, noon-4 p.m. and Thursday, noon-8 p.m.
The Freeman exhibits are made possible through the generosity of John M. Lockhart II, Susan Lockhart and the President's Office at SUNY Geneseo.
This release was written by Sara P. Wagner, a senior English and communications major from Hilton, NY serving as a media relations intern in the Office of Communications and Publications.