Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence Artifact Collection

Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence Artifact Collection

Oct. 28, 2022 - Feb 24, 2023 | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, First Floor West (near 10th & G Streets NW)

The DC Public Library, in collaboration with its partners, presents a special exhibit to highlight The Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence Artifact Collection, a new digital collection comprised of 1600 images of posters, photographs, and other items.

The exhibition, which is made possible in part by the DC Public Library Foundation, is on display at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, First Floor West from Oct. 28, 2022 - Feb. 24, 2023. Special thanks to Nadine Seiler and Karen Irwin, curators of the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence, for the loan and installation of original material from the fence.



About the Exhibition

The Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence is the name given to the installation of protest art on the security fence erected to restrict protests outside the White House that erupted after the murder of George Floyd. From June through January 2021, activists attached signs, banners, t-shirts, and other artifacts to protest the treatment of Black and Brown people by police, and to demand solutions to many societal issues including racism, LGBTQIA+ rights, women’s rights, the 2020 presidential campaign, the COVID-19 pandemic, and more.

Activists turned the fence into a memorial, an art project, and an outpouring of emotions ranging from grief to joy. The BLM Memorial Fence suffered vandalism, including near destruction by Trump supporters who opposed its messages. Through a collaborative effort, many items were removed from the fence for historic preservation on January 30, 2021.

The new collection is available on DigDC, the library’s portal for select digitized and born-digital historic collections. Visit the collection on the DigDC website to learn more. 

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Selections from the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence Artifact Collection
The People's Archive at DC Public Library
Photo of the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence on January 2, 2021. Credit: Farrah Skeiky
Photo of the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence on January 2, 2021
Credit: Farrah Skeiky

Credits
The Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence Artifact Collection is a partnership between DC Public Library, Enoch Pratt Free Library, The Library of Congress, and Howard University. The artifacts were collected and donated by Nadine Seiler and Karen Irwin with assistance from Aliza Leventhal. Enoch Pratt Free Library completed the digitization of the artifacts. Metadata of the artifacts was completed by staff at the DC Public Library, with support from members of the public. A portion of the artifacts are housed at Howard University and may be viewed through Digital Howard. Also included in this collection are 38 artifacts collected by The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Throughout the exhibit, there are links to digital collections at collaborating institutions.


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