February 24, 2021

The Elmhurst Art Museum Presents Photography Exhibition on Chicago’s Historic Fight for Fair Housing

Peaceful March in Marquette Park in Chicago, August 5, 1966. Photography by Bernard Kleina.

Opening on March 4 at the Elmhurst Art Museum in the Chicago suburbs, a new photography exhibition, “In Focus: The Chicago Freedom Movement and the Fight for Fair Housing,” exposes the systemic issues that have historically effected housing opportunities in the city. Highlighting the racial basis of the longstanding discrimination, the centerpiece of the exhibit is a collection of 40 shots by Wheaton-based photographer and activist Bernard Kleina, who captured some of the first color photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To complement the historic perspective, “In Focus” also includes images documenting the racial justice protests last summer by local photographer Vashon Jordan Jr

Additionally, statistical graphs and maps, as well as first-person accounts by fair housing activists, are part of the visual showcase. The exhibition also will debut a collaborative project between the Design Museum of Chicago, Elmhurst Art Museum’s Teen Council, and York Community High School’s Black Student Union, featuring photographs by teens in response to quotes about fair housing from historic and contemporary activists. “In Focus” will be on view through June 20, 2021.

Members of the Lift the Ban Coalition pose for a photo during the “Stop the Eviction Avalanche – Occupation of Eviction Court” week-long demonstration at Daley Plaza in Chicago on August 18, 2020. Photography by Vashon Jordan Jr.
Housing Mural, Chicago, John Pitman Weber. Photography by Bernard Kleina.
Redlining Map of Chicago, 1935-1940. University of Richmond, Mapping Inequality Project. Image courtesy of the University of Richmond
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at Soldier Field, Chicago, July 10, 1966 (aka Freedom Sunday). Photography by Bernard Kleina.

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