1968: A Folsom Redemption

September 1–October 20

McKune Room | Open During Library Hours

Johnny Cash is a cultural icon renowned for his award-winning music, distinctive style, authentic storytelling, and empathy towards the marginalized. 1968: A Folsom Redemption is a collection of photographs and memories of two journalists lucky enough to be among a handful of eyewitnesses to the historic Johnny Cash concerts at Folsom Prison. This candid and personal photography exhibition covers a critical juncture in the career of Johnny Cash.

In January 1968, Johnny Cash was at a crossroads. His music career, in a slow decline for several years, was in need of a smash hit. He had recently straightened out his personal life, and leadership changes at his record label meant he was able to finally convince them of the merits of a live recording in a prison setting. Cash had been performing for inmates as far back as 1957, when he received a stream of requests from prisoners who identified with the man who sang “Folsom Prison Blues.” This connection developed with prisoners during these concerts had made him increasingly sympathetic to those he would later call “the downtrodden.”

Working as freelance journalists, photographer Dan Poush and writer Gene Beley met with Cash and his family the day before the concerts began, at the invitation of Reverend Floyd Gressett, a friend of Cash’s who ministered to inmates and helped set up the show at Folsom State Prison with Recreation Director Lloyd Kelley. Beley’s first-person account of those days, and his knowledge of the storylines at work behind the scenes, make this a fascinating exploration of the little-known aspects of a well-known event in popular culture. 1968: A Folsom Redemption takes the viewer right into the heart of this pivotal moment in the life and career of one of the twentieth century’s most important and cherished musical personalities.

 1968: A Folsom Redemption is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Special thanks to Rick Taylor Real Estate and the Friends of Chelsea District Library for their sponsorship of this exhibition.

Photography by Dan Poush

Get in the Johnny Cash Spirit with the CDL Digital Collection!

See the Kanopy Film Selections Below!

Click images for links to films. CDL cardholders get five borrows per month on Kanopy.

Discovering Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash & Me

My Father & The Man in Black

We’re Still Here

Johnny Cash is Available on Hoopla!

Hoopla is your source for up to ten titles per month.  Johnny Cash videos, music, and eBooks are all available without waits or holds. Listening on the road? Hoopla is available on Apple Carplay and Android Auto!

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