Bruce Davidson: Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs 1961-1965
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On May 25, 1961, Bruce Davison joined a group of Freedom Riders traveling by bus from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. The actions of these youths challenged and disobeyed federal laws allowing for integrated interstate bus travel. These historic episodes, which ended in violence and arrests, marked the beginning of Davidson's exploration into the heart and soul of the civil rights movement in the United States during the years 1961-1965. In 1962, Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship and continued documenting the era, including an early Malcolm X rally in Harlem, steel workers in Chicago, a Ku Klux Klan cross burning near Atlanta, farm migrant camps in South Carolina, cotton picking in Mississippi, protest demonstrations in Birmingham, and the heroic Selma March that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was instrumental in changing the political power base in the segregated Southern states. In the 140 photographs collected here, many of which have never before been published, we see intimate and revealing portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and other leaders made by Davidson during those turbulent times. These images describe the mood that prevailed during the civil rights movement with a lyrical imagery that is both poignant and profound. As Davidson bears witness to these historical events, and documents the degradation and segregation that were endured, he gives testimony to the struggle for freedom, equality, justice, and human dignity.