PEOPLE AND PLACES

PEOPLE AND PLACES

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Civil Rights Protest in the 60’s:The 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders

The Freedom Riders were mostly college students, blacks and whites, who set out on Greyhound and Trailways buses across the South to test a U.S. Supreme Court decision banning segregation in interstate transportation. That meant no more separate waiting rooms or water fountains designated for white and colored.

After one bus was firebombed near Anniston and the Ku Klux Klan threatened and beat Freedom Riders in Birmingham, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy secured a promise from Patterson to have state troopers protect the group’s bus from Birmingham to Montgomery. City police were supposed to take up the job once they crossed the city line.Patterson kept his word, with state trooper cars and a helicopter guarding the bus.

But when they reached Montgomery’s Greyhound station, police were not there. Instead, an angry crowd fueled by Klansmen beat them, journalists and a Justice Department official – John Seigenthaler, later a well-known newspaper editor – after he came to the riders’ aid.

Freedom Rider Catherine Burks-Brooks of Birmingham, now 71, said one scene will stay with her forever, revealing the depth of hatred on their attackers’ faces and in their words.“To see the expressions on white women’s faces screaming, ‘Kill the niggers. Kill the niggers.’ That sticks with me,” she said.

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

On May 25, 1961, renowned documentary photographer Bruce Davidson joined a group of Freedom Riders traveling by bus from Alabama to Mississippi  - a perilous journey that resulted in a series of moving images shining a spotlight on a critical moment in American history.

The powerful black-and-white photos that make up the exhibit ‘Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-1965,’ depict the struggle for justice and equality during a time of fearless activists, protests, marches, and police brutality.

In 1962, Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship and continued documenting the different facets of the turbulent civil rights era, including the five-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, with Martin Luther King, Jr. at the helm.

Ironic: Bruce Davidson's powerful image from 1963 shows a black woman being held by two white police officers in front of a movie theater marquee sign that reads, 'Damn the Defiant'

Ironic: Bruce Davidson's powerful image from 1963 shows a black woman being held by two white police officers in front of a movie theater marquee sign that reads, 'Damn the Defiant'

Integration: On May 25, 1961, documentary photographer Bruce Davidson joined a group of Freedom Riders traveling by bus from Alabama to Mississippi - a trip that resulted in a series of poignant images documenting the civil rights era

Integration: On May 25, 1961, documentary photographer Bruce Davidson joined a group of Freedom Riders traveling by bus from Alabama to Mississippi - a trip that resulted in a series of poignant images documenting the civil rights era

Slice of life: Davidson accompanied a group of fearless young Freedom Riders, capturing everyday interactions between blacks and whites in the South

Slice of life: Davidson accompanied a group of fearless young Freedom Riders, capturing everyday interactions between blacks and whites in the South

Jim Crow Must Go

boys

Powerful and intimate: Davidson’s gelatin silver prints depict not only important historical events, like protests against Jim Crow laws (left), but also more intimate moments, among them an image of young black boys picking cotton in a field (right)

Ruthless crackdown: Davidson was there to document many instances of police brutality, like this image of a man being dragged by cops in 1964

Ruthless crackdown: Davidson was there to document many instances of police brutality, like this image of a man being dragged by cops in 1964

The Time of Change collection comprised of more than 20 snapshots taken by Davidson is currently on display at Howard Greenberg Gallery Two in New York City.

Davidson’s gelatin silver prints depict not only watershed historical events, but also more intimate moments, among them images of young black boys picking cotton in a field; African-American nannies caring for white babies; couples dancing to a jukebox, and a group of aggressive white men heckling Freedom Riders aboard a bus.

One image in the series shows a black woman being held by two white police officers in front of a movie theater marquee sign that reads, ‘Damn the Defiant.’

In another historical print, Martin Luther King, Jr. is shown with Mrs. King and civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 1965.

Close to home: Besides his travels to the South, the photographer was able to find worthy subjects right in his own backyard, like this 1962 image depicting a line outside a surplus food depot

Close to home: Besides his travels to the South, the photographer was able to find worthy subjects right in his own backyard, like this 1962 image depicting a line outside a surplus food depot

Private moment: Alongside photos depicting injustice and hardship there are images capturing joyous moments like dancing in a club to the sounds of a jukebox

Private moment: Alongside photos depicting injustice and hardship there are images capturing joyous moments like dancing in a club to the sounds of a jukebox

Iconic: In 1962, Davidson photographed Martin Luther King Jr (center) during the five-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama

Iconic: In 1962, Davidson photographed Martin Luther King Jr (center) during the five-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama

Many of Davison’s black-and-white shots are poignant as well as poetic, like the image of three beautiful black bridesmaids wearing flamboyant rose-shaped fascinators and veils over their faces. 

Born to a single mother in Illinois in 1933, Davidson began taking pictures at the age of 10 and developing them in his basement darkroom.

Hostile: The photographer depicted this group of white men heckling and taunting Freedom Rides in 1961

Hostile: The photographer depicted this group of white men heckling and taunting Freedom Rides in 1961

Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 to continue his project focusing on civil rights

Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 to continue his project focusing on civil rights

After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University, Davidson was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he worked in the photo pool – a posting that allowed him to further hone his skills.

After his military service, Davison joined the Magnum Photo Agency. For the next 50 years, the celebrated photographer criss-crossed the country, producing remarkable work on the civil rights movement, the culture of Harlem and the New York City subway system, which has earned him numerous accolades and awards.

The help: No subject was too small or insignificant for Davidson, like this seemingly mundane yet poignant scene depicting black nannies caring for white children

The help: No subject was too small or insignificant for Davidson, like this seemingly mundane yet poignant scene depicting black nannies caring for white children

Beauties: This print from 1962 captures three black bridesmaids wearing flamboyant rose-shaped fascinators and veils over their faces

Beauties: This print from 1962 captures three black bridesmaids wearing flamboyant rose-shaped fascinators and veils over their faces

 

   
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Follow their story below in photographs.Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

1

Police Lt. Beavers Armstrong places a segregation sign in front of the Illinois Central Railroad Jan. 9, 1956, after the railroad removed segregation signs from waiting rooms in compliance with an Interstate Commerce Commission order. Mississippi State law requires segregated facilities at rail depots so Jackson, Miss. police will enforce the state law. The sign reads, "Waiting Room for White Only." (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

2

Years before the Freedom Riders boarded buses on May 4, 1961, bus integration laws were being tested in the South. Six days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montgomery city buses must integrate, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and others challenged the law in Birmingham, Ala., by joining white passengers on a city bus, Dec. 26, 1956. Shuttlesworth boarded the bus hours after a bomb exploded inside his Collegeville, Ala., house. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Robert Adams) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, right, is stopped before entering the whites only waiting room at the Bus Terminal March 6, 1957, in Birmingham, Ala. This photo was made one day after the Alabama Public Service Commission ruled that the waiting rooms must remain segregated. Shuttlesworth informed the media of his plans to integrate the waiting rooms and was followed by reporters, photographers and a white mob estimated at more than 100. After being told that he was not wanted inside, Shuttlesworth replied: "It's not up to you to tell me where to go." ( AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Robert Adams) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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After years of challenging bus segregation by various civil rights groups in the South, CORE (Congress of racial Equality) members from Washington, DC decided to test the enforcement of the Supreme Court's anti-segregation rulings on interstate travel. Members of an interracial group pose in Washington, with a map of a route they planned to take to test segregation in bus terminal restaurants and rest rooms in the South, May 4, 1961. From left are: Edward Blankenheim, Tucson, Ariz.; James Farmer, New York City; Genevieve Hughes, Chevy Chase, Md.; the Rev. B. Elton Cox, High Point, N.C., and Henry Thomas, St. Augustine, Fla. They are all members of CORE, the organization sponsoring the trip. The original group of thirteen freedom riders (seven black, six white) left Washington, DC, bound for New Orleans on two buses, a Greyhound and a Trailways bus, with stops in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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The first couple days of the trip for the Freedom Riders, with stops in Virginia and North and South Carolina were relatively uneventful. Several white men attacked members of the group in Rock Hill, South Carolina but the fight was quickly broken up by police. When the buses stopped in Atlanta, Georgia, they were greeted by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. King warned the leaders that he had heard of Klan members planning something at the next stop in Anniston, Alabama. On Sunday, May 15, 1961, as the Greyhound bus carrying the Freedom Riders pulled into the Anniston station, a group of white men surrounded the bus. One unidentified white man sat in front of Greyhound bus to prevent it from leaving the station while the others broke bus windows and punctured the bus bus tires shouting, "Let's kill these niggers and nigger-lovers." (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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After the bus left the Anniston station, a car swerved ahead on the highway and began weaving from side to side to prevent the bus from getting by. The tires, punctured by the mob at the station, went flat. Another mob gathered around the stranded bus, breaking more windows. Someone in the mob threw a fire bomb into the bus, setting it ablaze with the riders inside. The mob barricaded themselves against the bus door, preventing the riders from escaping. Believing the fire was about to cause an explosion in the gas tank, the mob backed off, allowing the riders to pour out of the burning bus. The mob then began attacking the Freedom Riders until Highway Patrolmen arrived to disperse the mob. (AP Photo/str) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Continuing display of Ku Klux Klan signs on U.S. highways in violation of federal regulations, the American Veterans Committee charges, typifies the wide-open activities of racists that erupted recently in the attack on Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala. Display of signs, such as this one photographed on U.S. Highway 31 outside of Montgomery violates the regulations of the Bureau of Public Roads, U.S. Dept. of Commerce. (AP Photo/American Veterans Committee) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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After the Greyhound was burned outside Anniston, Alabama, the Trailways bus continued on to the Birmingham station, unaware of the Greyhound's fate. Birmingham, run by the head of the Police Department, Bull Connor, had what most believed to be the worse race relations of any city in the country. Connor had made an agreement with the KKK to give the Klan time to attack the Freedom Riders at the bus station before the police would arrive to break up the mob. As the buses pulled into the station and the first Freedom Riders debarked, the mob attacked. After the Klanmen began to brutally beat the riders, photographer Tommy Langston took this photograph causing the mob to turn on him as well. The mob dispersed and moved down the street about ten minutes after the attack began, right before the police arrived. (AP Photo/Birmingham Post-Herald, Tommy Langston, File) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Eugene "Bull" Connor, former Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner and fiery segregationist, seen here during a speech in to the Tuscaloosa County White Citizens Council in Tuscaloosa, Ala., June 8, 1963. Connor was urging the audience to stay away from the University of Alabama campus June 11, when two African Americans are scheduled to enroll. Connor was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham during the initial Freedom Rides in 1961. Connor became an international symbol of bigotry for his stance on segregation. (AP Photo/William A. Smith) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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As some of the riders were released from the hospital, they gathered at the Greyhound Terminal in the bus station in Birmingham, Ala., on May 15, 1961, to discuss what to do next. At the urging of injured Rider, James Peck, the group decided to continue on their original route but drivers refused to operate the bus for fear of future violence. The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth (center) and Freedom Riders discussed plans after drivers refused to carry them any farther. Surrounding Shuttlesworth, clockwise from left: Ed Blankenheim, kneeling, Charles Person, Ike Reynolds, James Peck, Rev. Benjamin Cox, and two unidentified Freedom Riders. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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With no drivers left to take them anywhere, the Freedom Riders resigned to the fact that they would need to abandon their plans to take buses to New Orleans. The Freedom Riders went to the airport to leave Birmingham. The mob followed the Riders to the airport and someone called in a bomb threat to the airlines. Eventually the Freedom Riders departed the airport and arrived in New Orleans. Here, James Peck, official of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), shows the effects of the beating he received in Birmingham, Ala., as he answers questions at press conference in New York City, May 17, 1961. Press interview took place in the office of the ILGWU (International Ladies Garment Workers Union). (AP Photo/Jacob Harris) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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As the Freedom Riders resigned to the fact that their ride was over, students from Nashville, Tennessee, led by Diane Nash, seen here in a photograph from 1960, gathered to take up where the original Freedom Riders ended their ride. To take up the Freedom Rides, the students had to choose to drop out of school to head to Birmingham. Ten students were chosen to continue the Ride. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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After arriving in Birmingham, the Nashville group of Freedom Riders are promptly arrested by the order of Bull Connor. Connor declared they were being arrested for their own protection. The group was taken to the Birmingham City Jail. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy attempt to reach Gov. John Patterson of Alabama, seen here at a civil rights subcommittee hearing in 1959, to discuss the situation in Birmingham. The Governor refuses to speak with the President. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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On May 18, 1961, in the middle of the night, Bull Connor takes the Freedom Riders out of jail, drives them to the state line and drops the Freedom Riders off near a train station. The Freedom Riders make their way back to the bus station in Birmingham the next day. The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth (pointing), Birmingham integration leader, talks with students in the white waiting room on Wednesday, May 18, 1961 in Birmingham bus station. At right is Mary McCollum, 21, of Snyder, N.Y., a student at Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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s the first group of Freedom Riders made their way back to the station in Birmingham, they meet up with the second group of Riders from Nashville. Both groups become stranded at the station as drivers refuse to board the buses. Here, the group of Freedom Riders from Tennessee stands at the door of a Greyhound bus in Birmingham, Ala., on May 19, 1961. Drivers refused to take the racially mixed group out and after a wait of about two hours the college students tried to board another bus going the same way. The second bus was also cancelled. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Three members of a racially mixed group of college student "freedom riders" catch a nap on May 20, 1961 in the Birmingham bus station after they were thwarted several times in attempts to board busses to Montgomery. Left to right are Susan Hermann, Etta Simpson and Frederick Leonard. All attend college in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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PResident John F. Kennedy sends John Seigenthaler, right, to Alabama to meet with Governor Patterson to ensure the Riders safety. Here, Seigenthaler chats with Charles Meriwether in Montgomery, May 21, 1961. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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As the Freedom Riders' bus leaves Birmingham, it is escorted by police officers and a police helicopter but as the bus approaches the Montgomery bus station, the police and helicopter leave the bus. As the bus arrived at the Montgomery station, a mob awaited them. The mob first went after reporters and cameramen, throwing them down on the ground and smashing their cameras. Then the mob turned on the Freedom Riders. Jim Zwerg, the only white male student among a group of Freedom Riders, stands bloody in Montgomery, AL, May 20, 1961, after he was beaten at the bus station. The police present did nothing. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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The calm on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Ala., May 22, 1961, belies the rioting that took place a mile away after a mob attacked civil rights workers last night. At the end of the street is the State Capitol building. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General and brother of President John F. Kennedy, sits at the Justice Department as he works with aides considering legal measures to be taken following racial violence in Montgomery, Ala., May 21, 1961, Washington, D.C. The riot was touched off by a freedom ride test by mixed whites and African Americans arriving there from Birmingham, Ala., May 20. He ordered a task force of U.S. Marshals and Byron R. White, Deputy U.S. Attorney General, to the area to safeguard federal rights. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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After the Freedom Riders were beaten by a mob at the Montgomery station, federal marshals assembled by Gov. Patterson, wearing bright yellow arm bands, are sent in to keep the calm at the terminal. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Jim Zwerg, a Freedom Rider, recuperates in a hospital on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. after he was beaten by a mob at the bus station the day before. Zwerg, 21, a ministerial student, suffered cuts and bruises and lost several teeth in the attack. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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The Preseident orders that U.S. Marshals be assembled and sent to keep order in Montgomery. U.S. Marshals, sent to Montgomery, Alabama, May 21, 1961, after a mob attacked integrated bus riders, keep an eye on the bus station with binoculars from atop the federal building. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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In response to the violence, the Civil Rights leaders call for a meeting at Rev. Ralph Abernathy's Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Among others, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jim Farmer, and Rev. Shuttlesworth, came to support the Freedom Riders. Governor Patterson objects to the Marshals and the Civil Rights leaders coming to Montgomery, telling them to go home and mind their own business. Federal Marshals stood watch in Montgomery, Ala. on May 21, 1961 at the Black First Baptist Church as evening services start. The church, whose pastor was integration leader Rev. Ralph Abernathy, would be the scene for the Freedom Riders to announce their future plans. 1,500 people packed the Church. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A mob gathers outside the Church about an hour into the meeting. The mob throws rocks into the Church windows and set fire to cars outside the Church. The U.S. Marshals are sent to the Church to protect the people at the meeting but are ill-prepared to do so. Steel helmeted troopers armed with riot guns move in on a mob which gathered at the Black First Baptist Church on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. where an integration rally was being held. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A car burns after being overturned on a street a block from Rev. Abernathy's Church on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A group of U.S. Marshals stands outside an African American church to hold off a mob during integration rally, May 21, 1961, Montgomery, Ala. In the background an automobile burns after being overturned by the mob. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Several Blacks standing in the back of the congregation during church rally step out the front door after a tear gas bomb exploded nearby during mob violence on May 21, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Meeting attendants are told they cannot leave the Church for fear of what the mob outside would do. The crowd in the first Baptist Church gets comfortable in the pews on May 23, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. as they wait for their own safety to leave an integration rally. A riot swirled around the church. (AP Photo/ Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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(L-R) Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sit pensively after communicating with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy while they await protection from the gathered mob outside the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, following the Montgomery, Ala., race riot situation by phone through the night, talks with Gov. John Patterson after uncontrolled mob set fire to cars in front of church where Civil Rights Movement leaders were meeting, May 22, 1961, Washington, D.C. Tear gas was used to scatter crowds outside. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy convinces Gov. John Patterson to declare martial law. The National Guard arrives at the Church to ensure the people inside could return home safely. A National Guard sergeant passes out ammunition from a military truck on May 23, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. after martial law was declared. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A detachment of National Guardsmen patrols past the Black First Baptist Church on May 23, 1961 in Montgomery after martial law was declared following racial riots. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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National Guardsmen button up the tailgate of a military truck as they began taking Blacks home from the beleaguered church on May 22, 1961 in Montgomery. Ala. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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National Guardsmen stand across the street from the Black First Baptist Church in Montgomery on May 22, 1961 at sunrise following a night of racial violence and tension. The city was placed under martial law after mobs of white people threatened an integration meeting in the church. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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After martial law was declared in Montgomery, the National Guard keeps watch over the white waiting room outside the Montgomery bus station on May 22, 1961. (AP PHOTO) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Civil rights leaders hold a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. and announce that the Freedom Rides will continue, May 23, 1961. In the foreground is John Lewis, one of the riders who was beaten. Others, left to right: James Farmer, Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King. Lewis wears bandage on head. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center, African American integration leader, announces that Freedom Riders still plan a bus trip to New Orleans via Mississippi, Tuesday, May 24, 1961, Montgomery, Ala. Left is the Rev. Ralph Abernathy in whose Montgomery home they are shown during the announcement. More riders were reported to be arriving to replace some whose trip ended in a Montgomery bus station race clash a few days before. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Freedom riders stand at the ticket counter of the bus station in Montgomery, Alabama, May 24, 1961 as they purchase tickets to continue their ride through the south. At center is integration leader Rev. Martin Luther King. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Black Freedom Riders have breakfast at a lunch counter in the bus station in Montgomery, Ala., on May 24, 1961. It was the first time the eating facilities were used by Black travelers. The group was preparing to board buses bound for Jackson, Miss., and New Orleans, La., on their Freedom Ride movement to test the effectiveness of the 1960 Supreme Court ruling on integration. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Troops of National Guardsmen stand on duty at the Trailways bus station on May 24, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. as Freedom Riders plan to resume their bus trips through the south. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A new bus load of Freedom Riders, including four white college professors and three African American students, arrives in Montgomery, Alabama, May 24, 1961, under guard of police and National Guard. Center, with glasses, is Rev. William S. Coffin, Jr. At left, partly hidden, is Dr. David E. Swift, and behind him, wearing glasses, is Dr. John D. Maguire. (AP Photo/Perry Aycock) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Freedom riders board a bus on May 24, 1961 in Montgomery. Ala. to resume their ride through the south. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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The bus bearing Freedom Riders leaves the Montgomery station as they resume their ride through the South. National Guardsmen stand guard along the route. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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(L-R) Freedom Riders Julia Aaron & David Dennis sitting on board an interstate bus as they & 25 others (bkgrd. & unseen) are escorted by 2 Mississippi National Guardsmen holding bayonets, on their way from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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The Alabama state troopers and National Guardsmen escorted the bus to the Mississippi state line and then departed. Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett warns the Freedom Riders to "obey the laws of Mississippi." On May 24, 1961, as the buses arrived at the Jackson, Mississippi bus station, the Riders debarked and entered the White Waiting Room. Jackson Police Captain, Capt. Ray, was waiting for the Riders and asked them to leave the white waiting room. When the group failed to heed the order they were arrested and taken to the city jail. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Fifteen Freedom Riders that arrived on a second bus in Jackson, Miss., are loaded into a paddy wagon at the bus station, May 24, 1961. They entered the "whites only" waiting room and were arrested for being in violation of state laws. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A Freedom Rider is shown the way to the paddy wagon in Jackson, May 24, 1961, as a second bus load of the integration supporters arrived. Fifteen in second bus were arrested when they entered the white waiting room of the bus station. After the arrests, Gov. Ross Barnett decides to send the Riders to the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi to teach the Riders a lesson. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A view of Parchman Prison's maximum security unit in Parchman, Mississippi is seen Jan. 9, 1962. After their arrival at the prison, the Freedom Riders were subject to strip searches, beating, and hard labor. More Freedom Riders from across the country vow to fill Parchman Prison before giving up the Freedom Rides. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Jack Young, attorney for the 27 Freedom Riders tells newsmen in Jackson, May 26, 1961, that his clients have elected to remain in jail "at least for the present." Additional Freedom Riders from across the country vow to take the place of the jailed original Freedom Riders. (AP Photo/Fred Kaufman) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Lucretia Collins, 21, Freedom Rider from Fairbanks, Alaska, walks to a plane in Jackson, May 27, 1961, after being freed from the county jail on $500 bond. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Four Freedom Riders are flanked by newsmen on arrival at airport in New Orleans, Saturday, May 27, 1961, after posting bond in Jackson, MS., where they were arrested with 23 others at an interstate bus station. They are, from left, David Dennis, Doris Jean Castle, Julia Aaron and Jerome Smith. All live or attend school in New Orleans and walked quickly through the airport without incident to a limousine. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Freedom Riders, who were arrested at a bus station walk to the patrol wagon after their arrest, May 28, 1961, Jackson, Miss. A total of nine were taken to city jail. The group is unidentified. (AP Photo/Ferd Kaufman) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A policeman searches a Freedom Rider in the white waiting room of the bus station, May 28, 1961, Jackson, Miss. Eight more Riders were arrested when they failed to heed orders to move on. Seated at right are two more of the group, including one white man. (AP Photo/Ferd Kaufman) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Patricia Ann Jenkins leaves federal court on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala after testifying at a hearing on racial violence in Alabama. Miss Jenkins, 18 years old student at Tennessee A&I, was one of the Freedom Riders who escaped a mob during riot at the bus station. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Robert M. Shelton, an Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader, puts hand to face as he leaves federal courthouse on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. Shelton is one of many defendants in a federal suit charging lack of protection for bus riders following a racial riot at the station. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Alabama Adj. Gen. Henry V. Graham, right, thanks his troops on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. as limited martial rule is lifted. The National Guardsmen were called to duty following mob violence in the wake of arrival of Freedom Riders at the bus station. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Claude V. Henley, right, gets a handshake from unidentified well wisher as he enters court on May 29, 1961 in Montgomery, Ala. Henley is named in a federal complaint growing out of a bus station race riot. He is charged in city court with assault and battery in the beating of two newsmen. (AP Photo/Horace Cort) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Prospective Freedom Riders, a group of nine persons interested in a bus trip from New Orleans to Jackson, Miss., raise their hands for training to become Freedom Riders before Secretary James McCain, center foreground, in New Orleans, May 29, 1961. McCain said any of the group could withdraw and declined individual identification. CORE headquarters has indicated the trip might occur Tuesday to Jackson where 44 "Freedom Riders" have been jailed on arrival by buses from other cities. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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A group of the Freedom Riders sit in a truck as they wait to leave for the Hinds County Farm in Jackson, May 29, 1961. Twenty-two of the riders who were left in the county jail were transferred. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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James Davis, Florence, S.C., leader of the Freedom Riders that arrived in Jackson, May 30, 1961, asks Capt. J. L. Ray on what charge they are being arrested after they entered the white waiting room at the train station. (AP Photo) #

Captured: 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides

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Five of the 8 Freedom Riders who were arrested in Jackson, May 31, 1961, are shown as they leave train that brought them from New Orleans. They were arrested when they failed to heed police orders to leave the white waiting room. (AP Photo) #

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Freedom Riders talk with newsmen as they enter the train station in Jackson, May 31, 1961. From top left they are: Charles A. Haynie, Ithaca, N.Y.; Joe Griffith, Ithaca, and Toma Green, Ithaca, top center. James Davis Jr. Front left, and Robert L. Heller, Rockville Center, N.Y., in foreground. All were jailed. (AP Photo) #

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Seven unidentified Freedom Riders, leave Montgomery, Ala., on a Jackson, Miss.-bound Trailways bus, June 2, 1961. There were no incidents in Montgomery, as police were standing by. (AP Photo) #

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Three unidentified white men leave the colored waiting room at Trailways Bus station, June 2, 1961 in Jackson, Miss., where they sat in a desegregation attempt. It was the first time whites used a black waiting room in the Freedom Riders assault upon Mississippi's segregation laws. (AP Photo) #

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This is a June 8, 1961 Jackson Police Department file booking photograph of Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer provided by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History from their "Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records" Collection. (AP Photo/Mississippi Department of Archives and History, City of Jackson, File) #

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Four new Freedom Riders sit briefly in a Jackson railroad station in an integrated group before their arrest on breach of peace charges, June 20, 1961, Jackson, Miss. The 14-rider party brought to 131 the number arrested since May 24, as they sought to desegregate transportation facilities. The riders are unidentified. (AP Photo) #

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Three of 10 freedom riders on trial at Tallahassee, Fla., for unlawful assembly confer during a court recess on Thursday, June 22, 1961 in Tallahassee, Fla. The riders were charged following an attempt to integrate the city airport restaurant on June 15-16. Talking are (from left) Rabbi Israel Dresner of Springfield, N.J., one of two Jewish leaders in the group; the Rev. A.L. Hardge of New Britain, Conn., one of three African Americans; and the Rev. Robert Storm of New York City, one of five white protestant ministers. Three Tallahassee integration sympathizers are also on trial. (AP Photo) #

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Arrested for a "breach of the peace," newly arrived Freedom Riders are loaded into the paddy wagon at the bus station in Jackson, MS, June 29, 1961. Unlike Alabama during the first Freedom Rides, Mississippi adopted a policy of preventing attacks on the riders but arresting them. (AP Photo) #

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Freedom Riders from California are held at Harris County jail after refusing to post $500 bonds on unlawful assembly charges in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 11, 1961. The group of 7 whites and 9 blacks was arrested at the coffee shop of Houston's Union Station train depot when they tried to get service. Those shown are awaiting transfer from the city jail to the county jail after they were booked. (AP Photo) #

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An unidentified Freedom Rider sticks his head out of a chartered bus window in Jackson, Miss., having arrived from New York, Aug. 14, 1961. These black and white Riders were testing a Supreme Court ruling banning racial segregation on interstate public transportation. (AP Photo) #

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Freedom Riders Levert Taylor, 20, and Glenda Jackson, both of Shreveport, La., are shown with policeman W. L. Copeland at Jackson, MS., Nov. 1, 1961, after their arrest on a breach of peace charge for refusing to move out of the white waiting room at a bus station there. Taylor and Miss Jackson were in Jackson to test the ICC desegregation ruling. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier) #

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Finally, after six months of Freedom Riders being arrested and attacked despite Supreme Court rulings which struck down state segregation laws, the ICC issues an order that bus and rail station segregation signs must come down. In a final act of defiance, Police Chief George H. Guy poses beside the "White waiting room" sign posted outside the Greyhound bus terminal in McComb, Mississippi, on Nov. 2, 1961. The sign was erected on city property by McComb Police on Oct. 31, one day before the ICC ruling went into effect, which stated that segregation in bus terminals would end. (AP Photo) #

 

A life under segregation: Stunning photographs capture the lives of ordinary African-Americans in the divided deep South of the 50s

segregation

These vivid photographs showing members of an African American family living in Alabama, USA, under the Jim Crow segregation laws were taken by artist Gordon Parks and originally appeared in Life Magazine in 1956. The powerful images, which illustrate how racial segregation impacted on people's daily lives, show how African Americans were forced to use separate entrances to white people, or were unable to visit the same places, with the controversial rules often sparking violence

 

 

Peering through a wire fence, this group of African American children stare out longingly at a fun fair just out of reach in one of a series of stunning photographs depicting the racial divides which split the United States of America. The image, entitled 'Outside Looking In' was captured by photographer Gordon Parks and was taken as part of a photo essay illustrating the lives of a Southern family living under the tyranny of Jim Crow segregation. Parks' pictures, which first appeared in Life Magazine in 1956 under the title 'The Restraints: Open and Hidden', have been reprinted by Steidl for a book featuring the collective works of the artist, who died in 2006.

Outsiders: This vivid photograph entitled 'Outside Looking In' was taken at the height of segregation in the United States of America

Outsiders: This vivid photograph entitled 'Outside Looking In' was taken at the height of segregation in the United States of America

Caring: An African American maid grips hold of her young charge in a waiting area as a smartly-dressed white woman looks on

Caring: An African American maid grips hold of her young charge in a waiting area as a smartly-dressed white woman looks on. The vivid color images focused on the extended family of Mr and Mrs Albert Thornton who lived in Mobile, Alabama during segregation in the Southern states. In another photograph, taken inside an airline terminal in Atlanta, Georgia, an African American maid can be seen clutching onto a young baby, as a white woman watches on - a single seat with a teddy bear on it dividing them.

Many white families hired black maids to care for their children, clean their homes, and cook their food. Controversial rules, dubbed the Jim Crow laws meant that all public facilities in the Southern states of the former Confederacy had to be segregated. The laws, which were enacted between 1876 and 1965 were intended to give African Americans a 'separate but equal' status, although in practice lead to conditions that were inferior to those enjoyed by white people.

Armed: Willie Causey Junior holds a gun during a period of violence in Shady Grove, Alabama

Armed: Willie Causey Junior holds a gun during a period of violence in Shady Grove, Alabama

Public schools, public places and public transportation were all segregated and there were separate restaurants, bathrooms and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The US Military was also subject to segregation.

Gordon Parks was himself born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912,.

Initially working as an itinerant laborer he also worked as a brothel pianist and a railcar porter, among other jobs before buying a camera at a pawnshop, training himself to take pictures and becoming a photographer.

He worked for Life Magazine between 1948 and 1972 and later found success as a film director, author and composer.

He was the first African American director to helm a major motion picture and popularized the Blaxploitation genre through his 1971 film Shaft.

Parks also wrote numerous memoirs, novels and books of poetry before he died in 2006.

The retrospective book of his photographs 'Collective Works by Gordon Parks', is published by Steidl and is now available here.

Split community: African Americans were often forced to use different water fountains to white people, as shown in this image taken in Mobile, Alabama

Split community: African Americans were often forced to use different water fountains to white people, as shown in this image taken in Mobile, Alabama

Separated: This image shows a neon sign, also in Mobile, Alabama, marking a separate entrance for African Americans encouraged by the Jim Crow laws

Separated: This image shows a neon sign, also in Mobile, Alabama, marking a separate entrance for African Americans encouraged by the Jim Crow laws

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Magnum photographer Leonard Freed documented The March on Washington and his images endure as a testament to the historic importance of that day. The demonstration ultimately led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Freed’s powerful images of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom will be featured in two group exhibitions in Washington, DC, one at the Library of Congress and the other at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march this month. From the hundreds of images that Freed made of the march, fifty-seven photographs were chosen for the recently published book, “This Is the Day: The March on Washington photographs by Leonard Freed,” published by Getty.

Leonard Freed (American, 1929-2006) began making photographs in 1954 and joined Magnum Photos as a full-time member in 1972. Freed’s photographs are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed). #

2013-08-06 Leonard Freed

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August 28, 1963. On that historic day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his ŇI Have a DreamÓ speech at the Lincoln Memorial and 250,000 people participated in the largest peaceful demonstration for civil rights ever witnessed in America. Freed Photo Credit: All photographs © Estate of Leonard Freed Đ Magnum Photos (Brigitte Freed).