Lewis et. al. marching. John Doar Papers, Mudd Manuscript Library.
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- “Nobody Turn Us Around: The Freedom Rides and Selma to Montgomery Marches: Selections from the John Doar Papers” showcases over 30 photographs and documents from two watershed events during the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement: the Freedom Rides of 1961 and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965. The exhibition runs Monday, April 24 through March 31, 2024 at Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library in Princeton.
The exhibition is curated by Princeton University Library’s William Clements, Public Policy Papers Archivist, and Phoebe Nobles, Processing Archivist, with materials selected from the papers of John Doar, Class of 1944, who prosecuted discrimination and segregation cases for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in the 1960s. The papers are housed at Mudd Manuscript Library.
The objects on display hint at how the Justice Department—as well as the executive branch and the F.B.I.—were watching and reacting to the direct actions of riders and marchers like John Lewis, James Farmer, Diane Nash, Hosea Williams, Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Freedom Riders sitting at bus station. John Doar Papers, Mudd Manuscript Library.
While both the Freedom Rides and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches were systematically thwarted, not only by white mobs, but also by state and local officials and police, the images and accounts of the violent receptions these peaceful protesters received ultimately swayed public sentiment and created pressure to pass an order in September 1961 by the Interstate Commerce Commission to desegregate travel facilities, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Graphic design for the exhibition was provided by Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications, and exhibition project management by Stephanie Wiener, Exhibitions Registrar and Gallery Operations Manager.
The John Doar papers are available for research in the Mudd Library Reading Room.
The exhibition, which runs from April 24, 2023 through March 31, 2024, is open to the public during Mudd Manuscript Library’s regular opening hours. Please check the website for current hours, as these vary during the year.
The Princeton University Library is located at One Washington Road in Princeton, New Jersey.
Marchers on bridge. John Doar Papers, Mudd Manuscript Library.