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Wyatt Kenneth Coleman

Love, Peace & Equality

January 14, 2017 - March 4, 2017

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On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke the words that would change the course of history and be remembered by Americans of all races for generations to come. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King vocalized the issues at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, calling for peaceful protest, justice, and equality. He was a leader, a pastor, and an accomplished scholar, but above all, Martin Luther King, Jr. lived to serve his community. Dr. King has this in common with one of the men who chronicled his legacy--photographer Wyatt Kenneth Coleman. “In the mid 1970’s,” says Coleman, “I began documenting people striving to make a difference.”

A Vietnam Veteran, Coleman’s dedication to helping others is evident in both his artistic practice and humanitarian contributions. In addition to documenting Dr. King’s legacy, the artist established a collaboration with Coretta Scott King in 1979, which remained active until her death. Coleman was interested in the effect that the Civil Rights Movement had on the lives of ordinary people, stating, “When a person is committed and makes a contribution to their community, lives are changed and doing the right thing is really key.” As such, much of his work documents every-day people participating in non-violent activism by committing acts of kindness and working towards social justice. In these images, Coleman seeks to emphasize the importance that engagement and oral history play in passing down the value of serving one’s community and family. It is through this body of work that MOAH:CEDAR is excited to provide an intimate look into the artist’s personal legacy.

Wyatt Kenneth Coleman is a freelance photojournalist whose career spans over fifty years. While serving in the military, he studied at the U.S. Airforce Photography School, gaining skills that would benefit him in both his military and artistic careers. He has certifications from the Winona School of Professional Photography, the University of Minnesota and Santa Fe Photographic workshops. Coleman is a member of the International Freelance Photographers Organization and has had his work regularly shown in several publications, including 3M, Ebony and Jet Magazines, The Daily Word, and TV Guide Canada. He received an award of appreciation from the late Coretta Scott King for a visual presentation he helped create, promoting the establishment of the Martin Luther King Center for Non Violent Social Change in Atlanta. Coleman has been awarded for his unselfish volunteer service in the communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and was recognized for his volunteer work at the Elm Avenue Community Garden by Assemblyman Tom Lackey, in addition to receiving an award from Lancaster City Council, for his contributions to the community. Wyatt Kenneth Coleman currently lives in Lancaster.

A Lancaster resident, Coleman is a freelance photojournalist with a career that spans more than 50 years. He first became interested in this medium as a direct result of his older brother’s photograpy studio, which ignited a passion in him that continues to this day. During his service in the U.S. Air Force, Coleman studied at the U.S. Air Force Photography School, learning skills which would benefit both his military and private professional careers. He went on to further his education by receiving certifications from Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, the Winona School of Professional Photography, and the University of Minnesota. His work has been published in Ebony magazine, as well as many other articles and publications.

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