New York Photo Review
Volume 4 Issue 31 July 30 to September 10, 2013

The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino

Eyes on the Prize
Bruce Davidson
Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-1965

Photo by Bruce Davidson . Source: howardgreenberg.com
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America has come a long way since Bruce Davidson rode with the Freedom Riders in 1961 to begin documenting one of the most turbulent eras in our history. Groups of racially mixed young people challenged the way of life in the South— segregated bus seating – by traveling from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi on buses. There was violence and arrests, and eventually change. Davidson covered the civil rights struggle virtually every step of the way, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 5-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; his powerful photographs are evidence of who and what we were—and wanted to become. His work captures the humiliation, the anger and the occasional joys that people felt. If nothing else, this exhibition of some 40 black and white images is a history lesson and a window into another world that no longer exists.

Photo by Bruce Davidson . Source: howardgreenberg.com
Bruce Davidson 1961.

A good example is the 1961 image, “Ride from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi, in which a woman looks out a bus window at the National Guard soldiers standing outside. Davidson shows us protests, peace marches, soldiers guarding the way, and numerous confrontations with the police.

Photo by Bruce Davidson . Source: howardgreenberg.com
Bruce Davidson 1962.

In fact, one memorable image was that of a black woman surrounded by police with a movie theater marquee in the background advertising “Damm the Defiant.” A few images show what the Freedom Riders had to endure. In one, three nasty-looking white guys in front of a gas station taunt the bus riders. Other images reveal a more personal side of the struggle, from a group of black school girls walking past the hard stares of several white children to a young black boy writing on a chalk board in a one-room schoolhouse in Selma, Alabama. Was this separate but equal? With an aerial L-shaped view of the huge crowd around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Davidson adds another perspective to the 1963 March on Washington. Closer to home is “New York City 1962.” A man holds a newspaper called “Mohammad Speaks” whose headline says, “Don’t cry when they lynch me.” If that doesn’t grab you, the sad-faced boy standing in front will.

Photo by  . Source:
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In a sign of things to come, the 1962 image of the white woman and black woman calmly sitting next to each other at a New York City lunch counter stands in stark contrast to many of the others in this memorable exhibition.

Bruce Davidson
Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-1965


Howard Greenberg
41 E 57th St. 14th Fl
Midtown         Map

212 334 0010
howardgreenberg.com

Thursday, June 6 to
Friday, August 30, 2013
Hours: Tues - Sat, 10 to 6
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