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Released January 28, 2003


HATTIESBURG - Four years after its inaugural exhibition in 1999 at The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art, "Faces of Freedom Summer: The Photographs of Herbert Randall" makes its way back "home" Feb. 6 through March 7.

To celebrate its homecoming, the museum, along with University Archives, has planned an opening reception Feb. 6 from 4-6 p.m. Also, photographer Herbert Randall and Freedom Summer volunteer and author Jim Kates will lead a brown-bag lunch program Feb. 18, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Both events will be held in the museum and are free to the public.

The exhibition of photographs – highly touted and widely covered at its original opening, including by People magazine – has traveled the United States since 1999 in such venues as the Parrish Art Museum and the College of Old Westbury in New York. Most recently, it was displayed at Stanford University in California and at the Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.

The exhibition features more than 100 photographs that chronicle the struggles and triumphs of civil rights activists and disenfranchised African-American voters in Hattiesburg in 1964. During that fateful summer, a coalition of local black residents, students of all races and voting rights organizers worked together to secure the right to vote for all Americans in the South.

According to Bobs Tusa, a retired university archivist and author of a book published in 2001 on the collection of photographs, Randall – a then-28-year-old New York native – in 1964 met Sandy Leigh, who was the director of the Freedom Summer project in Hattiesburg. Randall agreed to serve as the official photographer for the project. He took 1,759 negatives of events surrounding the project; negatives he eventually donated to the archives at Southern Miss in 1998.

"We feel like this is something of a homecoming," said Tony Lewis, director of the museum. "It has been four years since this important exhibition has been displayed here. Many of the students on campus and residents of Hattiesburg have not yet seen this exhibit, which traces such an integral part of our history."
Prior to Randall's donation and debut exhibition at Southern Miss, most of his photographs of the project had remained unseen. The negatives are now carefully stored at the university's McCain Library and Archives, which also houses a wealth of other materials related to the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.

Examples of Randall's work are found also in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress and other prominent American museums.

The Museum of Art at Southern Miss is located in the Fine Arts Building at the southwest corner of the campus. The hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m-5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. School and community group tours are welcome. For more information, call (601) 266-5200.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM