Demanding Change, Bearing Witness
Photographs from the Wilson Garling RISEUP! Collection

Please be advised that this exhibition contains graphic historical content that may be difficult for some viewers. In addition, the language included in some of the imagery and titles of these photographs may reflect outdated, biased, or potentially offensive wording that has been kept intact from its original source materials to provide context for archival purposes.

Let America Be America Again

by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me)


Flip Schulke
We Demand an End to Bias Now! Huddle of Demonstrators, March on Washington, Washington D.C.
August 28, 1963
Collection of Thomas J. Wilson and Jill M. Garling



Demanding Change, Bearing Witness

Demanding Change, Bearing Witness explores the use of photography as a mobilizing tool to capture demands for social justice from everyday individuals. Through the ‘click’ of a camera’s shutter, both the photographer and the printed photographs transform into a means of protest and an act of resistance. The images in this exhibition showcase the efforts of ordinary Americans who used photography as a tool to bear witness to injustice and demand steps toward progress, inching us closer to an ideal America. 

Photographers supported social justice activists who called for change by providing evidence of social dissatisfaction and resistance. Photography is highlighted, both as a weapon of choice in the fight for justice and as a medium that makes connections between the past and present. We celebrate the bravery of those who saw the consequences of dissent firsthand and still chose to persist. Created by students for students, Demanding Change, Bearing Witness hopes to educate and inspire the next generation to stand up, to give voice, and to make the changes they want to see in the world.

Jack Thornell

Walking Boots: James Meredith tries on the walking boots he will be wearing...

June 22, 1967

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Ruth Orkin

Mothers Protesting

ca. 1945

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Lou Stouman

Protest, California

ca. 1980's

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Herb Snitzer

Cry Freedom


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Artist Unknown

Indians and government officials walked around a tepee before entering it for a powwow...

March 4, 1973

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Artist Unknown

Civil rights demonstrators held hands as they marched down Chicago’s Balboa Drive…

June 11, 1965

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Danny Lyon

John Lewis in Cairo, Illinois


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