Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One Woman's Dream: The Unfolding Legacy of Evelyn J. Frazier

Just in time for Women's History Month, here is a peek at One Woman's Dream: The Unfolding Legacy of Evelyn J. Frazier, an exhibition about the business, civic, educational, and political life of an incredibly dynamic individual. From now until Sunday, May 29, 2011, the exhibit is open in the small gallery on the first floor at AARL. Curators Pennye Hicks (Frazier's niece) and Kenneth Green of Spelman College did a wonderful job of converting 200 square feet into an eye-catching, interactive user experience.

Tall panels flank the left and center walls of the space, providing viewers with biographical information, historical context, and a timeline of important dates and events related to Frazier's life, and with a subtle cue about the exhibit's left-to-right flow. "Evelyn's Journey," the tallest panel, contains a video component installed midway through the timeline. Using the headphones provided, viewers encounter a visual and audio narration of Frazier's personal and professional development.

Anchoring the center wall is a panel titled, "The Two Steeples," which includes information about Frazier's activities in the historic Big Bethel A.M.E. Church and Morris Brown College. Mounted to the wall to the right of "The Two Steeples" are a series of black hinged boxes. The face of each is covered with a reproduction photograph or document. Upon opening a box, viewers read details and descriptions about the exterior image. It’s a clever way to add depth to two-dimensional objects and to engage viewers physically.

Anchoring the right is the show-stopper, a small reproduction of the interior of Frazier's Cafe Society, a popular African American eatery, complete with booth, counter, and framed original ephemera -- a menu, matches, napkins, full page ad -- and much more. It's a visual treat.

Through this exhibit, the book The Silent Warrior: An Autobiography of Evelyn J Frazier, and the donation of Frazier's papers to AARL, Pennye Hicks is ensuring the contributions and accomplishments of her aunt are remembered. To see the collection finding aid, go here.  And plan a visit soon!

Posted by Wesley Chenault, Library Research Associate

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