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Oxford College Library Exhibits - Past and Present

In 2019 The Oxford College Library displayed Still Raising Hell: The Art, Activism, and Archives of Camille Billops and James V. Hatch in the Fran Elizer Gallery. This exhibit illustrated a history of works created by black artists for black audiences and explored the intersection of art and activism.

The exhibit was an abbreviated version of the exhibition that originally appeared in the Schatten Gallery of Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Library 2016-2017, and was curated by Pellom McDaniels, III. The Oxford exhibit included a number of wall panels which defined and highlighted the concept of black art and its importance to the art community.  Artifacts on display included recreations of covers from Artist and Influence, Billops’ and Hatch’s art journal; recreations of Billops’ illustrations; and ephemera related to Hatch’s work as an author and playwright.

Billops and Hatch were one of the most dynamic couples of the twenty-first century. The couple donated to Emory University their collection of research materials on African American visual and performing arts. Assembled over the past forty years, this is one of the premier collections of its kind. The Billops-Hatch Archives provide a major resource for research in African American arts and letters of the 20th century. 

Camille Billops (1933- 2019) was an African-American artist, filmmaker, archivist, and professor whose work has been exhibited around the world. Her filmography includes the notable documentary films, A String of Pearls (2002) and Finding Christa (1991). Billops’ primary visual art medium was sculpture. James V. Hatch (1928-2020) was a writer, scholar, and educator whose deep passion for African American people, culture, and black art grew from a curiosity for understanding the human condition. Hatch wrote plays, screenplays, nonfiction works, and a number of books about the African-American theatrical experience.