Honoring the significant legacies of the Civil Rights Movement in Oklahoma City, We Believed in the Sun pairs Ron Tarver, a nationally recognized artist born in Oklahoma, with Ebony Iman Dallas, an emerging Oklahoma artist. The exhibition is organized in consultation with Advisory Council members from the Clara Luper Center for Civil Rights and the Oklahoma Historical Society. We Believed in the Sun will illuminate first-person accounts of the Civil Rights Movement in Oklahoma from the 1950s and 1960s that may be overlooked aspects of the larger history of Civil Rights and that resonate with present-day African-American communities in Oklahoma.
We Believed in the Sun explores both public and private perspectives on Black Oklahomans’ past and present struggle for Civil Rights and equal protection under the law. The exhibition title comes from a quote by Civil Rights icon Clara Luper:“I came from a family of believers. We believed in the sun when it didn't shine. We believed in the rain when it wasn't raining. My parents taught me to believe in a God I couldn't see."
Ron Tarver, The Gathering, 2021. From An Overdue Conversation with my Father, 2014-ongoing. Pigment ink print, mounted on eight-ply archival mat board in a vintage frame. 17 x 29 in. © Ron Tarver. Photo courtesy the artist.