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Past Exhibitions


A long line of activists march across the horizon, holding American flags.

Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books

High Exhibition Dates:   August 15–November 8, 2020
Traveling Exhibition Dates:  
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art from February 7 – May 30, 2021
New York Historical Society from April 1 – July 24, 2022

Picture the Dream is the first exhibition of its kind to delve into the events, people, and themes of the civil rights movement through the children’s picture book. Picture books are one of the most compelling forms of visual expression, and this exhibition showcases them as an effective bridge between art and storytelling, championing aspects of the movement that are both celebrated and forgotten.

The exhibition is guest curated by award-winning children’s book author Andrea Davis Pinkney and marks the High’s fifth collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Picture the Dream will be on view at the High from August 15 through November 8, 2020, and at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art from February 7 through May 30, 2021.

Banner Image Credit: PJ Loughran (American, born 1973), Headed for Montgomery, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, 2015, written by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, india ink and acrylic with digital components. Collection of the artist.

Picture the Dream is dedicated to the foot soldiers and beacons whose lights have taken flight. Your legacies lift us. Your inspiration empowers our steps. You are angels who guide the way.

The Lasting Legacy of Activism

A young black boy in a green shirt looks at an image that says "Black Lives Matter."

Bryan Collier (American, born 1967), Untitled, All Because You Matter, 2020, written by Tami Charles, collage. Collection of the artist.

The year 2020 marks the anniversary of several key events from the civil rights movement. Sixty-five years ago, in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Ruby Bridges integrated her New Orleans elementary school, and four Black students catalyzed the sit-in movement at the segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. The exhibition honors these bold actions and voices of the past while highlighting the importance of activism today, in a time when the fight for justice continues nationwide.

Through Picture the Dream, titles by beloved children’s book authors and artists as well as talented newcomers come together to encourage discussion and inspire young people to be tomorrow’s agents of transformation. The presentation will include more than eighty artworks, ranging from paintings and prints to collages and drawings, that evoke the power and continuing relevance of the era that shaped American history and continues to reverberate today. The exhibition will emphasize children’s roles as activists and tell important stories about the movement’s icons, including Parks, Bridges, Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Picture the Dream consists of three sections and a short film. The first section, “A Backward Path,” investigates life and conditions leading up to the crystallization of the definitive civil rights movement. The second, “The Rocks Are the Road,” focuses on key voices and events that shaped the movement. Finally, the third section, “Today’s Journey, Tomorrow’s Promise,” explores equality in the present day, looking at what has changed and what progress can still be made. Each segment strives to display how vibrant stories for children can unpack difficult dialogues around activism and race relations in the United States.

Click on an image below to learn more.

“As you witness the power conveyed through the art of picture books, you’ll be brought to a place of revelation. Here, we stand on firm ground. Here, we can rejoice in the legacy of social justice, a heritage built by the everyday heroes who came before and by the steadfast individuals who continue to carry equality’s message. Here is a dream worth following.” —Andrea Davis Pinkney

Meet Our Guest Curator

Andrea Davis Pinkney headshot.

Andrea Davis Pinkney is an editor for Scholastic in New York City, where she and husband, illustrator and collaborator Brian Pinkney, live with their family.

Pinkney is a New York Times-best-selling and Coretta Scott King Book Award-winning favorite figure of children’s literature. She has penned four of the books featured in Picture the Dream and has a new title, Loretta Little Looks Back, set to debut this fall.

She also loaned her creative voice to the exhibition labels and text, which she wrote to guide visitors through the galleries in the same way a narrator guides readers through a story.

Film and Animated Play

The short documentary film that will be within the galleries is an opportunity to expand on the stories behind the works of art. Through a series of compelling interviews with authors, illustrators, and activists, viewers will gain a more comprehensive idea of the voices within the movement as well as the artists who visualize history into the pages of treasured books.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre at The Woodruff Arts Center, of which the High is also an arts partner, will present an animated edition of the world-premiere play Sit-In (October 2020) based on Andrea Pinkney’s book Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down. The play is written by lauded author and playwright Pearl Cleage and features music by Eugene Russell IV. Visit for details.



Continue the Conversation

Picture the Dream is an open invitation to start important discussions with children, friends, and family. Take a look at a list of all the books in the show and our family discussion guide, or make the conversation virtual! Complete any of these sentences that inspire you in a post on your favorite social media channel with the hashtag #highmuseumofart.

Civil Rights Are . . .
Activism is . . .
Equality is . . .
Fairness is . . .
Demonstrating is . . .
Freedom is . . .
Peace is . . .
Harmony is . . .



Atlanta Journal Constitution | “High Museum exhibits children’s books on civil rights”
WABE | “The High’s New Exhibit ‘Picture The Dream’ Showcases Civil Rights Movement Through Children’s Books”
Fox 5 Good Day Atlanta | “Exhibit presents unique ‘picture’ of civil rights movement”
Traveling Mom | “44 Ways to Teach Kids about Civil Rights, Both Virtual and Real”
artnet | “25 Shows to See Across the US as Museums Reopen, From Jacob Lawrence’s Genius at the Met to an Epic Mexican Masterpiece in Dallas”

Organization and Support

Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books is co-organized by the High Museum of Art and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Major funding for this exhibition is provided by

The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation
The Rich Foundation, Inc.
Wilmington Trust logo.

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Sponsors

Delta logo.
Invesco logo.

Exhibition Series Sponsor

Northside Hospital logo.

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot

Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Robin and Hilton Howell

Ambassador Exhibition Supporter
Rod Westmoreland

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole
Peggy Foreman
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Margot and Danny McCaul
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust

Additional support is provided by 2020 Grandparents Circle of Support members
Spring and Tom Asher, Anne Cox Chambers, Ann and Tom Cousins, Sandra and John Glover, Shearon and Taylor Glover, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Jane and Hicks Lanier, and by Lavona Currie, Nena Griffith, Ellen and Tom Harbin, and Margaretta Taylor

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.