Photography exhibition ‘Tarred Healing’ finds new home at the National Civil Rights Museum

In a photo that UNC officials rejected from Cornell Watson’s “Tarred Healing” exhibition, UNC Vice Chancellor Clayton Somers is pictured during a 2021 Board of Trustees meeting. Protesters line the walls to demonstrate against the Board’s handling of the tenure decision of prominent Black journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. (Cornell Watson)

Durham photographer Cornell Watson made national headlines last year for his exhibit, “Tarred Healing,” which focuses on the Black history and community in Chapel Hill. Days before the photo series was set to open at the UNC Sonja Haynes Stone Center, the center told Watson it would no longer move forward with the exhibit due to disagreements over content. University leadership said some of the images detracted from the message of “reverence” for the Black community that they hoped the exhibition would convey. Now, nearly a year since the Stone Center canceled the showing, “Tarred Healing” is newly on display at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Cornell Watson joined Carolina Connection’s Lorelai Skyes to discuss Tarred Healing and its new home.

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