This year marks major historical milestones in America. Among them, it’s the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislation which enforces the constitutional right to vote regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
In Atlanta, on April 5, 2014, Wells Fargo is bringing “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect” to the Atlanta History Center. In a statement to press, they noted the Kinsey exhibition is “poised to dispel myths, encourage dialogue and promote storytelling around African Americans in the making of America.”
Making its Atlanta debut, the exhibition will feature more than 130 items including documents, artifacts, and photographs dating from 1600 to the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow years, and the Civil Rights Movement. Of note are a first edition of Solomon Northrup’s 12 Years a Slave, the basis of the Academy Award-winning film; and the first edition copy of W.E.B Dubois’ his ground breaking book Souls of Black Folks; along with the earliest known African-American marriage record dating back to 1598.
“By presenting this exhibition, lectures, programs, and the community events that highlight the stories in the exhibition, Wells Fargo and the Atlanta History Center hope to establish that we are all connected by a common history and that our shared history cannot be segregated,” says Sheffield Hale, president and CEO of the Atlanta History Center, in the statement to press. “Atlanta residents and visitors can realize that the legacy of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement – no matter their race or background – are inextricably linked and central to the lives of all people in the history of our nation.”
Bernard Kinsey, avid collector, philanthropist and educator, began this collection over 35 years ago with his wife, Shirley, and son, Khalil. Bernard was inspired to begin his collection after viewing an original bill of sale of William Johnson sold for $550 in 1832.
“The Kinsey Collection strives to give our ancestors a voice, name, and personality, enabling the viewer to understand the challenges, obstacles, triumphs, and extraordinary sacrifice of African Americans who’ve greatly contributed to the success of this country,” says Bernard Kinsey.
“The appreciation of culture, diversity, and human rights is at the heart of our vision and values,” says Greg Bronstein, senior managing director of Wells Fargo Private Bank and a board member of the Atlanta History Center. “Extending this national tour provides Wells Fargo with the opportunity to encourage conversations about the value of diversity and inclusion while allowing us to recommit to the fundamental principles of equality that inspire and drive us all.”
In addition to hosting the nationally acclaimed exhibition at the Atlanta History Center, Wells Fargo presents special activities, such as Wells Fargo Free Admission Weekends. Presented on the third full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of each month, from April through June 2014, all guests to the Atlanta History Center receive free admission, including The Kinsey Collection exhibition. Admission also includes all History Center exhibitions, interactive experiences, explorations at Smith Family Farm and Swan House, and twenty-two acres of gardens and trails.
The Wells Fargo Free Admission Weekend in June accompanies the Atlanta History Center’s annual family program, Juneteenth: The First Day of Freedom. This two-day program focuses on the appreciation and commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.
The Kinsey exhibition has been seen at the Smithsonian Institution and 14 other venues, but never before in Atlanta. As part of Wells Fargo’s 2013 celebratory tour honoring the 150th anniversary of The Emancipation Proclamation, it traveled to leading African American museums including the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore.
The exhibition will remain on display until July 13, 2014.