Vergara remarked about his work that “most murals and street portraits of Dr. King are ephemeral. Paint fades, businesses change hands and neighborhood demographics shift. Gradually, images reflecting the culture and values of poor communities are lost….Often, my photographs are the only lasting record of these public works of art.” This exhibition offers the opportunity to study the manner in which Martin Luther King, Jr. has reached into the hearts of artists from New York to Los Angeles, Chicago to Detroit, and how the artists’s images have depicted the soul of the great civil rights leader in a manner that reaches out to communities nation-wide.
Camilo Vergara will donate all of the works in The Dream Continues: Photographs of Martin Luther King Murals by Vergara to the New-York Historical Society after the close of the exhibition. For more information on Camilo Vergara, visit his website.
One of about thirteen manuscripts Lincoln signed in addition to the original, this copy belonged to Schuyler Colfax, House Speaker in 1863 and later Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant. According to Seth Kaller, president of Seth Kaller, Inc., who acquired the document for Mr. Rubenstein in a private transaction, and arranged its loan to New-York Historical, “this is the one that is directly traceable to a leader instrumental in the amendment’s passage. It has not been displayed in New York for more than forty years."
The Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, was a major step towards the abolition of slavery, helping to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence and renew the nation’s founding philosophy of human liberty. Yet as the Civil War raged on, Lincoln realized that the issue of slavery could only be settled permanently by changing the Constitution itself. By the end of 1864, the Senate had approved the abolition amendment, although it was still two votes short of the two-thirds necessary for passage in the House of Representatives. At Lincoln’s urging, the amendment was re-introduced. “The abolition of slavery by Constitutional provisions settles the fate,” Lincoln implored Republican congressmen, “not only of the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come—a measure of such importance that those two votes must be procured.” When it finally passed on January 1, 1865, and Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax announced the results, a moment of silence was followed by an uncontrollable eruption of joy and triumph sounding like "reverberating thunder." As President James Buchanan before him had signed a proposed amendment to protect slavery, Lincoln took the extra measure on February 1, 1865 to sign the official joint resolution to abolish it.
It began as a single-room schoolhouse with about 40 students, the majority of whom were the children of slaves, and by the time it was absorbed into the New York City public school system in 1835, it had educated thousands of children, a number of whom went on to become well known in the United States and Europe. The New-York Historical Society’s New York African Free School Collection preserves a rich selection of student work and community commentary about the school. This site showcases pages from Volume IV of the collection, Penmanship and Drawing Studies, 1816–1826, and tells the story of the school and of African American New York in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Visit the exhibition here.