The public is invited to view the photography of Robert Houston in “Most Daring Dream: The Photography of Robert Houston and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign,” an exhibition that features more than 50 images of what some scholars see as Dr. Martin Luther King’s final and most ambitious vision.
The exhibition will open on Friday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Stephanie Ann Roper Gallery and will run through Sunday, Oct. 10. It will be open for Family Weekend on Oct. 9 and 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.
While covering King and the Civil Rights Movement for Black Star and Life Magazine, Houston arrived in the nation’s capital to photograph King’s most daring dream, the 1968 Poor People’s March. Although King was instrumental in planning the protest, he was assassinated weeks before the march on Washington began. The campaign continued, however, and was led by Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson. This event marked an important transition in civil and human rights, as well as contemporary American history.
With his camera and artistic instinct, Houston uncovered a sample of America’s poor living in tents made of plywood and tarp along the Nation’s Mall. He portrayed the vision of a people through the specificity of singular humanities and created portraits that differ from most images of protest and struggle. Houston revealed the strength in individual dignity and found nobility in places where it was assumed not to exist. As Parks once wrote, Houston’s “camera is guided by his heart.”
As this exhibition demonstrates, with unlimited versatility, Houston moves easily between the pictorial and documentary to the more minimalist expressions of abstract modernism and purist photography. While portraits such as “Blues and Guitar,” “Behind His Garden” and “Joads” bring to mind the craft of photographers working for the Depression era’s Farm Security Administration, images like “Order” and “Chaos” represent a more contemporary genre of social photography.
Houston is a Maryland native who still lives in the East Baltimore home in which he was born. “Most Daring Dream” was organized by Morgan State University with support from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Maryland Humanities Council’s “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Remembrance and Reconciliation,” a special initiative funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Roper Gallery is open Sunday through Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Dustin Davis at email@example.com or call the Department of Visual Arts at 301-687-4797.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.