The University of Akron Archival Services, a division of University Libraries, is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition on the photography of Opie Evans at the Dr. Shirla R. McClain Gallery of Akron’s Black History and Culture with an opening reception on February 10th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Evans was a local reporter, broadcaster, publisher, and businessman and one of the earliest African-American photographers in Akron. His photography documents the local African-American community in addition to other segments of the city’s population from the mid-1940s through the early 1970s.
The exhibit, which is titled “This is Akron with Opie Evans: The Rubber City as Seen through the Lens of One of Its Earliest African-American Photographers,” will feature 58 photographs from Mr. Evans’ catalogue that capture the work and leisure of Akronites—particularly African-Americans—from every walk of life from the end of the Second World War through the civil rights era. This includes leaders, politicians, and professionals in addition to the indigent and working class. The images are from Evans’ collection that is part of the extensive holdings of Archival Services.
The exhibit, which was guest curated by S. Victor Fleischer, University Archivist, Head of Archival Services, and Associate Professor of Bibliography, is a collaboration between the McClain Gallery, the Pan-African Center for Community Studies, and Archival Services of University Libraries. According to Fleischer, “the photographs are incredibly significant as they visually document an important and transitional time in the city’s and the nation’s history and capture a segment of the local population that is seldom documented elsewhere.”
The Dr. Shirla R. McClain Gallery of Akron’s Black History and Culture is located in the Buckingham Building at The University of Akron. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and admission is free to the public. Further information about the Gallery can be obtained at http://www.uakron.edu/ie/offices/.
The Opie Evans Papers and other historical resources on local African-American history and the history of the region are available by visiting Archival Services located in Room LL10 of the Polsky Building. Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional information about Archival Services and its collections can be accessed on the department’s website at http://www.uakron.edu/libraries/archives.