Edited by Leslie G. Kelen
Essays and text by Julian Bond, Charlie Cobb, Jr., Matt Herron, and Clayborne Carson
Photographs by Bob Adelman, George Ballis, Bob Fletcher, Bob Fitch, Matt Herron, David Prince, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela, and Tamio Wakayama
University Press of Mississippi, first printing, 2011
256 pages 151 illustrations
This Light Of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement is a paradigm shifting publication that presents the civil rights movement through the work of nine activist photographers—eight men and one woman who chose to document the national struggle against segregation and other forms of race-based disenfranchisement from within the movement. Unlike images produced by photojournalists, who covered breaking news events, most of the photographers were affiliated with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and documented its activities by focusing on the young organizers and the local people with whom they made things happen.
The core of the book is a selection of 151 black-and-white photographs representing the work of Bob Adelman, George Ballis, Bob Fitch, Bob Fletcher, Matt Herron, David Prince, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela, and Tamio Wakayama. Images are organized into four movement themes and convey SNCC’s organizing strategies, resolve in the face of violence, and impact on local and national politics, and influence on the nation’s consciousness. Then photographs and text of This Light Of Ours remind us that the movement was a battleground, that the battle was successfully fought by thousands of “ordinary” Americans amongst whom were the nation’s courageous youth, and that the movement’s moral vision and impact continue to shape our lives.
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