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For Mother's Day, a lesson in dignity at Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale

Mother's Day weekend is a perfect time to consider a few quiet moments with Miami Beach resident Bob Adelman’s powerful civil-rights photography in “The Movement” at the NSU Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale.

As a straightforward witness to history, the exhibition, which closes May 17, offers a potent lesson in civic responsibility and the heroism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But as a parallel way of appreciating these pictures, look at the women.

Beginning with the roots of the movement, the show includes images of resolute mothers with families on roadside farms, tender moments of young women and old helping each other fill out voter-registration forms, tense bus scenes on the Freedom Rides, female protesters being hosed in Birmingham and marching in Montgomery.

While risking the same treatment as the men, many of these women also carried that uniquely complicated burden of the maternal. And that they were often treated as second-class citizens in their own homes adds another layer of complexity to the emotions on their faces.

Emblematic are pictures of Coretta Scott King. In one series, Adelman’s camera captures her on the fourth day of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march, dressed in coat, hat and pearls, confidently holding her husband’s hand, her chin up, singing a song.

In the next room, a striking portrait shows a similar confidence, chin held high, eyes looking skyward in a radiant pose worthy of Vermeer, her face framed by a lacy black mourning veil. On an adjacent wall, she is shown that same day, standing stoically with her children, looking down at her husband in his casket.

“The Movement” is up through May 17 at the NSU Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd. Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday. Admission is $10, seniors/military $7; students 13-17 $5; members, NSU students, 12 and younger free. Call 954-525-5500 or go to

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