Exhibit focuses on women in civil rights movement

Former Atlanta Hawks guard Mike Glenn recently opened his exhibit “Expanding Civil Rights: With a Focus on Women of the Movement” at the Decatur library, running through Jan. 24 during regular library hours. The opening reception is 6:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at the library, 215 Sycamore Street, Decatur. Scheduled speakers are Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett and longtime activist Elizabeth Wilson, Decatur’s only black mayor.

During a recent interview Glenn said the display includes over 100 framed pieces of artwork, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles and first edition books. The earliest item is an original article on the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court case. There’s also special emphasis within the exhibit on the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm becoming the first black woman elected to Congress.

“What we’re trying to show,” Glenn said, “is that the movement doesn’t just fall into the [conventional] 1955-68 period. It goes back much further and as Andrew Young once told me, ‘we’re still in it.’ Meantime women have been critical all the way through, starting with Dred Scott’s wife Harriett who pushed him to seek his freedom.”

Glenn averaged 7.6 points per game playing in the NBA from 1977-87, including 1981-85 with the Hawks. He’s currently an analyst for the Hawks pre- and post-game shows, though many fans are probably unaware that he’s also something of a renaissance man. He has run the Mike Glenn Camp for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing since 1980, the nation’s first basketball camp for deaf athletes.

He’s authored four biographies of African Americans and works for Atlanta Public Schools as an adult education instructor teaching math, science, social studies, reading and writing (both his parents were teachers).

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He’s also one of the nation’s renowned collectors of first edition volumes on African American history, literature and slave narratives. His most prized book is an original 1773 printing of “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” by Phyllis Wheatly, the first published African-American poet.

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