Visitors to the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, the community design center of the Tulane School of Architecture, are greeted by wall-size maps dotted with pins and tags. The display is part of the Small Center’s current exhibit, Sites of Resistance, which chronicles social justice demonstrations and movements in New Orleans from 1863 to today.
The maps pinpoint the location of more than 300 rallies, demonstrations and marches across the city. Areas with large groupings of events indicate important locations of historical organizing. Some, like City Hall are expected, while others have a more forgotten role.
The exhibit also offers profiles of notable activism efforts from the past 150 years. From an early attempt to integrate New Orleans’ public schools during Reconstruction to an 1892 strike of more than 25,000 union workers pushing for better working conditions, the stories elevate often overlooked moments in the city’s history.
“I hope people come away with inspiration for the next stage of whatever struggles they are engaging in and with better understanding of what others accomplished historically, under often stark circumstances.”
Sue Mobley, Small Center public programs manager and curator of the exhibit, combed historic books, newspapers, and magazines to compile records of economic, racial and gender conflicts. Her goal for the display was to inform and encourage visitors.
“I hope people come away with inspiration for the next stage of whatever struggles they are engaging in and with better understanding of what others accomplished historically, under often stark circumstances,” said Mobley.
Sites of Resistance is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m at the Small Center, 1725 Baronne St. The exhibit is made possible by support from the Surdna Foundation.