For an introduction to the New South—the South, that is, as it’s evolved since the Civil War—you can do no better than to visit the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, N.C., which was founded in 1991. The museum’s exhibits, lectures, seminars and films encourage visitors to consider how the South has changed and continues to “reinvent” itself.
“We’re passionate about the role history can play in building community,” says Emily Zimmern, the museum’s executive director. “We believe in sharing the history and traditions of the New South and providing opportunities for people to learn about and from one another.” The centerpiece of the museum is the award-winning permanent exhibit, Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South, which takes visitors on an interactive tour of the past 140 years in the South. The exhibit features music and more than 1,000 artifacts, video clips, images and oral histories.
Recently, the museum launched Destination Freedom: Civil Rights Struggles Then and Now, a two-year (2013-2015) series of exhibits, programs and dialogues that examines the legacies of the African-American Civil Rights Movement and relates it to civil rights struggles of other groups—immigrants, women, gay rights activists and others. Currently on exhibit is the work—both photographs and personal narratives—by Carolina photographers who documented the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
Visit museumofthenewsouth.org or call 704-333-1887.