“I have no right to be silent in the face of injustice!” Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer said in a sermon delivered at his alma mater, Dartmouth University, in 1991. “I cannot dare to hide in my garden when people scream in pain! Nor can you, whether you are conservative or liberal, rightist or leftist or centrist. . . . That’s one of the reasons to be an activist.”
An ordinary American whose extraordinary convictions, faith, and impetuous personality impelled him to become a leading human rights activist during Argentina’s Dirty War (1976-1983), Meyer (who passed away in 1993) left not only a legacy of faith and teachings to his students and congregations, but also a compelling model of how a person of faith can embrace activism as a central part of their religious life.
The exhibit consists of 12 stunning banners, each of which incorporates materials culled from Meyer’s personal papers, held by the Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library, including intimate family photos, moving letters from prisoners, original artwork, internal government memos, and rare human rights publications.
The exhibit has been on display at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., as well as B’nai Jeshurun and the Jewish Theological Seminary, both in New York City—all places where Meyer studied or worked. Wherever the exhibit has traveled, it has inspired not only an admiration of Meyer’s work but also community dialogue about faith, activism, and human rights.
The exhibit text was prepared by Katharine French Fuller, a graduate student in Duke’s History Department, under the supervision of Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist. The design was executed by Pam Chastain and James Jarvis of Pam Chastain Design. The exhibit is funded by the generosity of an anonymous donor and is a joint project of the Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library, the Duke Human Rights Center, and Duke’s Center for Jewish Studies.
An on-line version of the exhibit is also available.
Opening Celebration for “I Have No Right to Be Silent”
Date: Monday, October 3, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Goodson Chapel, Duke University Divinity School (map and directions)
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu
The exhibit opening will include comments by Gabriel Meyer, social activist and Marshall Meyer’s son, as well as a performance of sacred Ladino music by the Jewish Chorale of the Triangle. Among the singers is Meyer’s nephew, Professor Eric Meyers, Bernice & Morton Lerner Professor of Center for Jewish Studies and Religion and the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies. A reception will follow outside the Goodson Chapel.