Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Charles Moore has died

“The civil rights movement spurred many, many emotions in me. I was a Southern boy. I’d grown up going to the movie theaters and sitting downstairs when the little black kids had to sit up in the balcony. I knew about the white water fountains and all. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do about it. But I still didn’t think it was right. Had no idea that one day I would be showing photographs and speaking about that. But it’s given me an opportunity to say, hey, I was taught a different thing. I was taught that I was to treat all people the same way. But when I got out into the world and I began to see these events, I’m glad that I was strong enough to stand up to the people who tried to push me away, the people who threatened me, the people who gave me terrible phone calls that ‘you’re going to die.’ You know, you don’t stop when there’s something you believe in.” – Charles Moore speaking at the University of Alabama in 2004.
Charles Moore – the great, brave photographer who captured many landmark images of the American civil rights struggle in the 1950s and ‘60s, from police siccing dogs on peaceful demonstrators to an arrest of Martin Luther King Jr. to firefighters blasting demonstrators with high-pressure hoses – died in Florida on March 11 at age 79.

He grew up in Alabama, but also lived in California and, late in life, in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. He initially photographed for The Montgomery Advertiser and The Montgomery Journal, then did major work for Life magazine, where his photos are credited with helping push lawmakers to pass the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act.

Video of a 2004 talk by Moore at the University of Alabama.
A substantial selection of Moore’s civil rights photos, based on his 1991 book “Powerful Days.”


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