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Conversation with legendary photographers Tom Dorsey and Jim Alexander set for March 23
Tom Dorsey photos

A free event on March 23 will feature a conversation with celebrated Atlanta Black photographers Tom Dorsey (left) and Jim Alexander.

— Tom Dorsey, Self Portrait, c. 1980. Courtesy of the artist. Jim Alexander, Self Portrait, c. 1990. Courtesy of the artist.

Members of the Emory, Atlanta and surrounding communities are invited to a conversation with celebrated Atlanta Black photographers Jim Alexander and Tom Dorsey on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m.

Carlton Mackey, co-creator/co-director of Emory University’s Arts and Social Justice Fellows Program and assistant director of community dialogue and engagement at the High Museum of Art, will moderate the discussion.

Attendees can join the event in the Jones Room of Emory’s Woodruff Library, or can watch online.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. In-person seating is limited to 100 people.

The event is presented by Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library and Michael C. Carlos Museum, both of which have related exhibits on display. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early and view the two exhibitions that inspired this program from 5­–7 p.m.

Creative Justice: A Celebration of Emory’s Arts and Social Justice Fellows Program

On view through May 13, 2023, in the Woodruff Library’s Schatten Gallery, Level 3

Amid a groundswell of national attention to racial and social injustice, Emory professors and students joined with Atlanta artists in the fall of 2020 to explore how creative thinking and artistic expression can inspire change. The Arts and Social Justice (ASJ) Fellowship was envisioned as an opportunity for faculty members to work alongside partnered ASJ fellows to embed creative projects that reflect on social inequities into existing courses. This exhibit provides a survey of the work the ASJ fellows and faculty did to help students translate their learning into creative activism in the name of racial justice. One component of the exhibit features the works of renowned Atlanta photographer Jim Alexander, who placed a large collection of his photographs (circa 1960-2022) with the Rose Library.

Learn more about Creative Justice: A Celebration of Emory’s Arts and Social Justice Fellows Program.

A Very Incomplete Self-Portrait: Tom Dorsey’s Chicago Portfolio

On view through July 16, 2023, in the Carlos Museum’s Works on Paper Gallery, Level 1 

The installation presents never-before-exhibited works by celebrated photographer Thomas Dorsey. Widely known for his intimate portraits of African American families in their homes in Chicago and Atlanta, Dorsey also photographed the streets, houses and buildings of his childhood neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. This portfolio of black-and-white photographs, taken while Dorsey was enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, reveals the barren infrastructure of an underserved community and the resilience and stark beauty that can be discovered amidst bleak circumstances. The photos also are extraordinary historical documents of 1971 Chicago. In 2022, the artist gifted the portfolio to the Carlos Museum with the hope that others might find the images useful.

Learn more about A Very Incomplete Self-Portrait: Tom Dorsey’s Chicago Portfolio.

The March 23 conversation is presented in partnership with the Atlanta Preservation Center’s “Phoenix Flies: A Celebration of Atlanta’s Historic Sites,” a program that publicizes Atlanta organizations involved in the preservation and recording and archiving of those efforts. The Rose Library, Pitts Theology Library, Carlos Museum and the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship are among 90 Phoenix Flies partners.

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