Arts & Culture

MLK Jr. Art Gallery Inspires Healing and Activism

Xera Britt, staff writer

“Justice long delayed is justice denied.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“Justice Long Delayed is Justice Denied” is a phrase made well-known by its use in Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. The phrase is printed on an enormous black banner and draped across the wall of the Christensen Commons stairwell, a high traffic area, drawing students in by its bold print and powerful language. For students looking to reflect more this Black History Month on the long road to justice, tucked around the corner from this banner is an art exhibit that explores this theme.

Nestled in the corner of Christensen Center, just behind the seating for Einstein’s is the MLK Jr. Art Gallery. It presents a collection of activist material, posters, art, jewelry, poetry and more, centering one core concept: MLK Jr.’s idea of creating equity for all and dismantling white supremacy. 

Posters in the MLK Jr. Gallery in Christensen Center, taken by Xera Britt.

Various posters calling for equality and empowerment adorn the walls. Alongside them are portraits of prominent Black figures such as MLK Jr., Malcolm X and former President Barack Obama, as well as abstract artistic renditions by local Auggie artists. It also features photographs of Black people posing, celebrating and simply living. Part of the installation may be a familiar sight for those that attended or read about the Art of the Uprising series. The gallery features large posters that Art of the Uprising attendees were encouraged to write and draw on, accompanied by smaller notecards with a single word written on each: depictions of local students’ ideas of activism and support following the summer’s uprisings.

The gallery serves as a place of reflection, healing and activism. Among the art and calls for change, students may find or renew a spark of activism, find peace or hope viewing the powerful art, find solidarity with fellow students or even find a message that could change one’s life forever. Whatever you may travel to the gallery to find, or walk away having received, it is there to inspire and comfort. 

I highly recommend taking the time to head to the fishbowl and explore its many works, read some of the artist biographies and take in the atmosphere as a whole. For many, college is their first step or re-entry into activism. For others, it has been a part of their life since the beginning. Both, regardless, will find something useful within the MLK Jr. Art Gallery.