Museum exhibit spotlights lynching scenes from the past

The sign near Seventh and College reads Levine Museum of New South, but inside are in your face stirring reminders of the Old South.

Provocative, compelling, and thought provoking are the best ways of describing this upcoming exhibit.

It's titled Without Sanctuary.

Emily Zimmern is the museum's president.

She was on hand when board members absorbed the powerful images in silence.

" I think these pictures call all of us to look deep inside ourselves and say what motivates human action and what responsibility do I have," she said.

Away from the museum, the issue of racially motivated lynching's has been on the mind of Kelly Alexander Jr. for decades.

He's the former president of the North Carolina NAACP.

"The idea is to go out and have some fun and exert punishment not's just against the individual who's being lynched", he said.   "But to exert punishment against a whole group of people to send them a message If you rise up you're gonna be cut down."

Deaths in the thousands demonstrate the blatant atrocities that happened across 41 states.

Numbers here in the Carolinas totaled more than 260.

UNC Charlotte's, Dr. Jeffrey Leak has explored reality as a contributor to this exhibit, and says events close to Charlotte were often swept under the rug.

The violence was carried out in nearby poplar tent, and 40 minutes from the Queen City published reports say three thousand people watched a lynching carried out in Salisbury that claimed the lives of three African American men during 1906.

"These things did occur," Leak said. "Had I been around at that time. That certainly could have been my reality."

Critics may say leave it alone or keep it in the past, but decision makers at the Levine feel just the opposite.

"Some people think history is old and dusty and musty, but genuinely when you understand the past you are spurred to action," Zimmern said.

The exhibit is at the Levine Museum of the New South runs from September 29th until December 31st.