Maltz Museum Exhibition Portrays the Civil Rights Struggles of the 1960s & Continuing Efforts to Bridge America’s Racial Divide With the Return of This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement

As relevant today as they were half a century ago, more than 150 black-and-white images chronicling the Southern Freedom Movement are featured in This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, on view October 26, 2022, through April 2, 2023, at the Maltz Museum.

This Light of Ours is based on a book of the same name edited by Leslie G. Kelen and featuring works by nine activist photographers who documented the clash between institutionalized discrimination and determined resistance by activists and volunteers during the mid-1960s. The stunning black-and-white photographs chronicle a pivotal time in American history that can be explored through interrelated sections: Black Life in the Deep South, Organizing for Freedom, State and Local Terror, Marching Against Fear, and Black Power. The Maltz Museum added video footage, life-size installations, and material about voter suppression today.

The exhibition originally premiered in Cleveland in 2016, traveled the country, and now returns home for its final showing in 2022. “We added a new section for this run,” explained David Schafer, the Museum’s Managing Director. “We are in a voting year, and this exhibition is about Americans participating in democracy. That’s why we chose to add a new section on voter suppression, then and now. What happened 50 years ago is highly relevant to what is happening today.”

It is the Museum’s hope that every middle and high school student in Northeast Ohio can see this exhibition and witness events of the 1960s through the literal lens of people who were there – activist photographers.

Cleveland’s own Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., a former regional director of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a Selma march participant once said, “If there is no conscience in the community, we have to be that conscience.”



In anticipation of the launch of the new special exhibition This Light of Ours, the public is invited to become beta testers for the newest addition to the Museum’s permanent collection. Using state-of-the-art technology, the Museum partnered with StoryFile to capture the courageous life story of a Cleveland icon and civil rights activist, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., as an Interactive Conversational Biography. An A.I. version of Rev. Moss can answer audience questions in real time, mimicking an actual conversation. The beta test is currently underway. To make the technology the most effective, audiences are needed to ask their own questions at a rate of approximately 150 per week. Visitors who want to participate in the beta testing phase can participate at no cost, now through October 22, 2022. Date and time slot options are available on the Museum’s website. To register for your free visit and to be part of making history as a beta tester, go to


OTIS’ DREAM with Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and his son Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

$5 General; Free for Museum Members;To register contact or 216.593.0575

Celebrate the special exhibition This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement as it opens to the public! The exhibition invites visitors to step into the heart of the Deep South during the 1960s and Freedom Summer, when ordinary citizens risked everything to change the nation. During the launch event, we’ll venture further back in history, with a film screening of OTIS’ DREAM, the powerful and poignant story of Otis Moss Sr. and his journey to vote in 1946 Georgia, twenty years before federal legislation prohibited racial discrimination in voting, when a Black man’s attempt to vote could cost him his life. After the film, Dr. Alex Johnson will be joined by Otis Moss Sr.’s son and grandson, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, discussing their mission to fulfill Otis’ dream through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and continued struggles of today, with the determination of achieving an equitable tomorrow. Plus, learn how you can engage with the interactive biography of Rev. Moss at the Maltz Museum into the future, through A.I. technology! Registrations are strongly recommended to reserve your seat and get a free commemorative gift.

OCT 26 – 30

To celebrate the launch of the new special exhibition, visitors are encouraged to take advantage of $5 Week! General admission tickets are available for just $5, October 26 – 30. Maltz Museum members and children under 5 are free.

NOV 1 – APR 2, 2023

For adult and student groups who want the full immersive experience, the Museum recommends pairing a docent-led tour of the special exhibition This Light of Ours with the opportunity to experience the interactive biography of the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., November 1, 2022 through April 2, 2023. Discounts apply for adult groups of 10 or more. School groups are $3 per student (one adult chaperone free with every 10 students). CMSD schools can attend for free, plus the Museum covers busing for Northeast Ohio schools with 50% or more of students on the reduced lunch program. To book a group tour, email


Drawing on themes of the special exhibition This Light of Ours and topics connected to the Museum’s core collections, we have prepared a full season of public programs for a wide variety of audiences, including:

  • Be Counted! Your Vote Matters
  • Rise Up! Creating a Movement
  • Explore! Art, Activism, and Identity
  • Investigate! Documenting Cleveland
  • Read and Discuss! Script Club
  • Discover! History of Black-Jewish Relations
  • Never Forget! Lessons of the Holocaust
  • Drop-in! Guided Tours & Interactive Experiences
  • Family Fun! Making Cultural Connections
  • Stand Up, Speak Out! Stop the Hate for Students & Schools

This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement features photographers Bob Adelman, George Ballis, Bob Fitch, Bob Fletcher, Matt Herron, David Prince, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela, and Tamio Wakayamas. The exhibition is organized by the Center for Documentary Expression and Art (Curator: Matt Herron; Historical Consultant: Charlie Cobb Jr.; Project Originators: Leslie Kelen and Steven Kasher) with major support provided by the Bruce W. Bastian Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The films, design and exhibition experience were conceived and produced by the Maltz Museum. 

For information, directions, and related programming, including information about the public launch event, call 216.593.0575, or visit

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THIS LIGHT OF OURS: ACTIVIST PHOTOGRAPHERS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT (October 26, 2022 – April 2, 2023) In the 1960s, ordinary people risked everything to fight for equality. Featuring videos, interactives, and 150+ black-and-white Civil Rights-era photographs, This Light of Ours offers a stirring look at inequities and tensions past and present, challenging visitors to play a role in effecting positive change. To learn more about the exhibition, visit

SPEAK WITH REV. DR. OTIS MOSS JR., (Now – October 22, 2022, free visitation for beta testers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 2pm; after November 1, 2022, drop-in tours on Tuesdays & Saturdays at 2pm) Meet with civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., whose story has been preserved through cutting-edge technology as an interactive conversational biography. A unique experience that allows you to ask him questions about his past and hear him answer in real time, mimicking a conversation. Register at

ADMISSION: This Light of Ours is included with Maltz Museum admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors (60+) and students, $5 youth (5-11), and FREE for Maltz Museum Members and children under 5.

EXHIBITION/MUSEUM HOURS: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am -5pm, Wednesday, 11am – 9pm. The Museum is closed Mondays.

GUIDED DROP-IN TOURS (starting November 1): Docent-led tours of This Light of Ours are available Tuesdays and Sundays at 2pm with regular Museum admission.

GROUP TOURS (starting November 1): Reduced rates are available for adult groups of 10 or more. Additional discounts are offered for K–12, including free admission and transportation for all classrooms in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District with pre-registration, and free transportation for any school with 50% or more of its students participating in the National School Lunch Program, up to $700. Contact for more information.

PROUD TO BE PART OF MUSEUMS FOR ALL. We offer free general admission to individuals and families with a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card or a Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) card. Visitors must present a valid form of photo ID. To claim free tickets, call 216-593-0575.

MALTZ MUSEUM is rooted in the Jewish value of respect for all humanity and explores diverse stories of courage from history and today so that there can be a more inclusive tomorrow. Generously supported by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and Ohio Arts Council.

CONNECT with the Maltz Museum online at, call 216-493-0575, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the handle @MaltzMuseum


Maltz Museum