PDN Photo of the Day

We Shall Overcome

As a form of propaganda, activist photography tends not to stand the test of time. But among the many striking and even iconic images of the Civil Rights Movement were images shot by photographers who were working from within, particularly as members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Some of their images endure for the formal beauty and raw emotion–not to mention the undeniable and systematic injustice–that they portray. University Press of Mississippi has just published 156 photographs by nine photographers in This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement. “Together the photographs and text remind us that the movement was a battleground, that the battle was successfully fought by thousands of ‘ordinary’ Americans…and that the Movement’s moral vision and impact continue to shape our lives,” the publisher says. Images by Bob Adelman, who went on to a successful career as a photojournalist, stand out in particular. Also included in the book are some noteworthy images by George Ballis, Bob Fitch, Bob Fletcher, Matt Herron, David Prince, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela and Tamio Wakayama with personal accounts of covering the Civil Rights movement by several of the photographers.

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  1. Umm… Voting Rights Act anyone? Hey, Judge Scalia! How about you? One Man, One Vote. Isn’t that the “Big Picture” here? That we all have our dignity respected as equals? That we all can participate in and have access to the collective self-determination that is called Democracy?

  2. Poignant reminders that advocating for peace, justice and equality is not for the faint of heart. There is inspiration here in the resilience, endurance, courage on both sides of the lens.

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