Wilmington 1968

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the powerful and community-changing public response that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While demonstrations occurred throughout the country, Wilmington suffered the longest peace-time occupation by the National Guard in United States history, spanning nine months. The civil disturbances and military occupation left an indelible mark on the community.

A trio of exhibitions, on view from June 30 through September 30, 2018, focus on three key chapters in the Civil Rights Movement. The Museum organized a display of thirty drawings of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–56) by Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silverman. We will host the traveling show Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, a collection of photographs for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (1963–64). In addition, the Delaware Art Museum commissioned Hank Willis Thomas to interpret and employ photographs of the 1968 demonstrations and occupation taken by Wilmington News Journal staff for the creation of a new work of art. A series of public programs will directly address core concerns of the Civil Rights Movement and present-day racial and social justice issues through live performances, community-led conversations, visual documentary workshops, and offsite community events with partnering organizations.

The Delaware Art Museum is proudly a part of the community-wide reflection, Wilmington 1968. This local series includes projects, exhibitions, and programs that remember the occupation and uprising in Wilmington and respond to critical issues facing the community today. To learn more about Wilmington 1968 programs and events, visit Wilmington1968.org.


Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement

June 30, 2018 – September 9, 2018

The Montgomery Bus Boycott: Drawings by Harvey Dinnerstein and Burton Silverman

June 30, 2018 – September 9, 2018

Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot

July 14, 2018 – September 30, 2018


The Wilmington 1968 Sourcebook is more than just a catalog for the Wilmington 1968 trio of exhibitions. The Sourcebook, compiled by Simone Austin and featuring essays from Ms. Austin as well as Dr. Jordan Howell and artist Hank Willis Thomas, is a collection of documents, photos and writing that shed light on Wilmington’s history during the Civil Rights movement. This book details the events that led to the National Guard occupation of Wilmington, Delaware and explores the occupation and its aftermath. $60.

Buy book now.

Published by the Delaware Art Museum. Compiled by Simon Austin. Designed by Candice Kearns. Edited by Deborah Krieger and Margaret Winslow.