Weeping May Endure for a Night: The Funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through the Lens of Declan Haun

Temporary Exhibition

Open through December 21, 2018

Weeping May Endure for a Night: The Funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through the Lens of Declan Haun

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago was a monumental loss for the country and world, but it’s hard to imagine another place where that tragedy was felt as profoundly as in King’s hometown.

As riots broke out in cities across America, Atlanta prepared to host Dr. King’s funeral procession, which drew an estimated 200,000 mourners. The eyes of a troubled nation focused on the capital of the South as it hosted the biggest funeral in the city’s history.

An intimate photography exhibition opening Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Margaret Mitchell House at Atlanta History Center Midtown, Weeping May Endure for a Night: The Funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through the Lens of Declan Haun, takes guests back to those difficult days in April 1968. The 25 photographs were captured by the late Haun, a Chicago freelance photojournalist.

Haun was a leading freelance photojournalist of the time who covered major news events including presidential campaigns, political conventions, and elections. His work was published in magazines such as Life, Newsweek, and The Saturday Evening Post, and was well-regarded for the humane approach he brought to his assignments and subjects.

Selected from the Chicago History Museum’s extensive collection of Haun’s work, the Atlanta photographs have never been exhibited as a group.

The title Weeping May Endure for a Night ties directly to the exhibition’s first image, of an unnamed mourner fighting tears. The exhibition includes several photographs showing similarly overcome onlookers along the funeral procession route from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College. But Haun’s photographs also capture expressions of unity and strength, including one powerful image depicting the procession as a tight wave of humanity, yet appearing small and fragile against the hard-surface backdrop of the downtown Atlanta cityscape.  

The son of Detroit Free Press photo-editor Charles Haun, Declan Haun worked for the Charlotte Observer before being hired by Black Star, an international picture agency representing freelancers. Throughout the 1960s, Haun covered numerous Civil Rights Movement mileposts, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963); the aftermath of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963; the gathering of supporters in Selma, Alabama, before the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965; and King’s funeral.

Photographs by Haun, who died at age 56 in 1994, are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), the Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, Virginia), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

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