The Montgomery Bus Boycott: Drawings by Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silvermanby Matthew Innis |
Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silverman, were observers of an event in American history that began with the arrest of Rosa Parks on charges of disorderly conduct on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. As a result, the African-American community was galvanized to action and the Montgomery Improvement Association was founded, with the 26-year-old Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as president. The Association filed suit in federal court on behalf of those discriminated against by the bus service. In 1956, the federal court ruled in favor of the Association and declared segregated bus service unconstitutional. After an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the boycott finally ended on December 20, 1956, when the high court ordered Montgomery to integrate its bus system. New York artists Dinnerstein and Silverman spent several days drawing Montgomery’s African American citizens walking and carpooling, listening to speeches by community leaders and civil rights activists, and participating in the trial that challenged the segregation of public transportation. This exhibition features their drawings, ranging from expressive portraits to impassioned courtroom drama, and capture the spectrum of actions and emotions that marked the boycott as a turning point in the struggle for civil rights.