Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Last exhibit intended to get people talking

By Ari Bloomekatz
Enquirer staff writer

Images of faces called "The Struggle Continues Today" stand behind a group from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The Enquirer/TONY JONES
The last exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center calls on visitors to do more than observe and contemplate.

Part of the room is titled "Reflect, Respond, Resolve," but instead of only soaking in the experience, the exhibit is designed to promote discussion and provide information and resources for action about issues of race and social justice.

Special section: Tour the Freedom Center
Freedom Center taps emotions
Last exhibit intended to get people talking
What: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Where: 50 E. Freedom Way, downtown
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Admission: $12 for adults ages 13-59; $8 for children ages 6-12; $10 for students with I.D. and for seniors age 60 and over.
Information: (513) 333-7500 or
The exhibit begins with a video about modern challenges to freedom and equality. The next hallway surrounds viewers with images of barbed-wire fencing and burning crosses projected on a wall and also displays larger than life-size faces of civil rights heroes.

"It was dramatic. There's still a lot of struggling going on. It's not just with the blacks. It's with everybody," said Joyya Hunter, 17, who works with a Salvation Army's Shine in the Rhine day camp.

"Seeing the people's faces was really powerful to me," she said.

Cathy McDaniels-Wilson, director of dialogue at the center, said the last exhibit can be overwhelming, but she doesn't want viewers to leave with emotion and unanswered questions.

Instead, she says, a small room in the last section of the exhibit will be used to spark talking sessions for visitors who want to share their personal experiences, thoughts or questions with others.

The room is scheduled to be open from noon to 4 p.m. daily when the center is open. Two workers will lead 30-40 minute discussion sessions there every hour.

McDaniels-Wilson said she hopes the room helps visitors process information and emotion evoked by their visit - instead of leaving them to hold those feelings inside.

"Our goal is that people will learn to listen to each other adequately," McDaniels-Wilson said. "It's about communication. About sharing and understanding one another."

Interactive computers with information about civil rights groups such as the Congress of Racial Equality are also in the exhibits' last room. The computers allow viewers to compare their thoughts and feelings about racial issues with others in Cincinnati and the nation, and other screens simulate occurrences of prejudice and discusses ways to mediate those situations.


8 school levies fail
County election sites
'No!' Norwood majority roars about 14-mill levy
Monroe increase fails
Mt. Healthy OKs levy

Festival seating likely to return
Mayor Luken may be angling for run at statewide office
Freedom Center taps emotions
Last exhibit intended to get people talking
Young workers lack coverage

Spending up at Cincinnati schools
Ex-felons' voting rights misstated
Lakota puts levy on ballot this fall
Local news briefs
Mercury lurks: Think twice about eating fish caught in Ohio streams
Lead-laden parcel won't delay planned Warren County subdivision
Neighbors briefs
Wording leaves details to courts
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium euthanizes 39-year-old gorilla with inoperable cancer
Panel to debate opening park gate
Public safety briefs
Lawsuit: Bad grades killed jobs
Too fast, two crashes, two die
Residents praise new park's trail

Grad awarded $1K scholarship

Rev. James A. Sutton, 82, was foster parent to 148
Janet M. Trigg taught nursing care for cancer

Bush bypasses Bunning on post
Woman, 72, claims sex abuse in 1930s
Silver Grove first up
Florence advised: Un-Mall
18 N.Ky. schools fall short
NRA gives endorsement to Geoff Davis
Bunning addresses business group
Louisville GOP leader faces criticism on poll watchers
Human Rights Commission has acting director
Bunning pressed on stem cells