Courage Exhibition

A Landmark Exhibition at the Museum of Tolerance.

Courage tells the story of the brave citizens of Clarendon County, SC, who brought the first of 5 lawsuits that would challenge racial segregation and lead to the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. Through the personal stories of Rev. J.A. De Laine, his family, community members, and legal champions, we learn about the sacrifices ordinary people made to advance civil rights.

The highly interactive exhibition features dioramas of Rev. De Laine’s fire-bombed church, sets of separate and unequal classrooms, replicas of the dolls used in the famous doll experiment, warphones to listen to the arguments of the 2 legal teams during the Brown v. Board of Education landmark case, and podiums inviting participants to engage in their own debates.

Participants will get a sense of the hardships and inequalities during that time and the tremendous courage ordinary people showed in changing American laws that uphold the equal rights we all enjoy today.

The exhibition shows how the civil rights movement blossomed after Brown, and leads visitors to interactive areas to explore “Where is courage needed today?”

Segregated Fountain: This famous photo introduces the history of segregation in the South. In an adjacent video, Ophelia De Laine takes mischievous delight in memories of sneaking a taste of “white” water.

School Room: Visitors can sit on a re-created bench of a separate Black school and write on the rough wooden desk. In a nearby video, BB De Laine recalls sitting on a board between two chairs.

“If those gallant people in Clarendon could do what they did, then I could certainly sit on a bus here in Montgomery, Alabama.” - Rosa Parks

In front of a mural-size photo of the interior of the Supreme Court, visitors explore the arguments made by the two legal teams. Adjacent to the mural is the panel giving the decision, with audio handsets.

Two lecterns sum up key points that lawyers made before the Supreme Court. This one re-creates the famous “doll test” that Marshall’s team gave Clarendon youngsters to gauge damage to black self-esteem.

The exhibition’s final section explores Issues Today. Visitors can write post-it answers to questions posed by three life-size cut-outs of middle school students, including “Where is courage needed today?”









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