|Product Details |
St. Ann's Press
Those who grew up conscious of the news in the early 1960s will experience shock after shock of recognition in this mounting of ace photojournalist Davidson's black civil rights work. Here are the freedom rides, marches, voter registration campaigns, and police violence, and here are scenes of the realities that provoked those actions--everyday black life, North and South, from dire poverty to tenuous middle-class status. As with watching the great TV documentary Eyes on the Prize, for those who grew up conscious of what these pictures mean and who recognize faces and settings in them, despite never having met the people or visited the places, it is hard not to become emotional and even teary while scanning them. This is what courage and nobility look like, and this other is what bigotry and xenophobia look like. Presented without captions or reference notes, Davidson's pictures can be appreciated here for their aesthetic quality as never before. Still, their historical importance is never upstaged by their artfulness, which is as it should be. Ray Olson
Copyright ¬ American Library Association. All rights reserved
Julian Bond, L.A. Time Book Review, October 13, 2002
"...Davidson's skill with the camera lies in the intimacy he brings to each shot..."
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.
The ability to enter so sympathetically into what seems superficially an alien environment remains Bruce Davidson's sustained triumph; in his investigations he becomes the friendly recorder of tenderness and tragedy. --Henry Geldzahler
Bruce Davidson is my friend, and his pictures are also my friends. --Henri Cartier-Bresson
Few contemporary photographers give us their observations so unembellished--so free of apparent craft or artifice. The presence that fills [Bruce Davidson's] pictures seems the presence of the life that is described, scarcely changed by its transmutation into art. --John Szarkowski
Introduction by Congressman John Lewis.
Clothbound, 12 x 11 in., 172 pages, 140 tritones