The City of Raleigh Museum will celebrate Black History Month in February with a new exhibit and lectures that explore African American identity through photographs.
On Feb. 3, the museum will open an exhibit featuring never before seen photographs from the collection of the Dr. Manassa T. Pope House Museum. The Pope family moved to Raleigh in 1900 and built a home at 511 S. Wilmington Street that still stands today. For the next century, the Popes led a unique life as prosperous and engaged leaders of the community. Their life was captured through the camera’s lens and will be displayed in the exhibit, “A Family Story: Photographs from the Pope House.”
Dr. Pope led a remarkable life as a doctor, soldier, entrepreneur, and politician. These were significant endeavors for an African American during the heyday of Jim Crow segregation. His daughters, Ruth and Evelyn, had noteworthy lives in their own right, using education to shape generations of young minds. The Pope House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a Raleigh Historic Landmark. The Pope House is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The photographs from the Pope House collection reveal the personal lives of the Pope family. They show scenes of everyday life demonstrating the social, political, and financial influence of the family in the midst of a segregated society.
“These photographs take viewers on an incredible journey,” said Ernest Dollar, director of the City of Raleigh Museum. “Not only do they highlight the incredible achievements of the Pope family but capture the intimate.”
In addition to the exhibit, the City of Raleigh Museum will present two lectures that further discuss the concept of Black identity.
On Feb. 26, the City of Raleigh Museum will honor Raleigh’s African-American newspaper on its 75th anniversary. The Carolinian was started in 1939 by Paul R. Jervay Sr. with the mission of giving “voice to the voiceless.” Today, Mr. Jervay’s son and grandson are continuing the newspaper’s long tradition of providing news to local African-American readers. Paul Jervay Jr. and Kelvin Jervay will be at the museum to share the history of this influential paper and thoughts on the future of publishing in the 21st century. Both programs start at 7 p.m. and are free to the public.
On Mar. 12 at 7 p.m., Craig James will talk about his passion to collect early photographs of African Americans, focusing largely on images that show the pride of newly emancipated men and women. This topic is especially poignant in Mr. James’ search as he discovered his own great-grandmother, Nursey James, in 1933. You can listen to Craig James story on UNC Public Radio at http://www.thestory.org/stories/2008-03/living-history.
Both the Pope photograph exhibit and the lectures events are free and open to the public. The City of Raleigh Museum is located at 220 Fayetteville Street in Raleigh. For more information, contact the museum at 919-996-2220.