Lost Photographs of a Segregated World

By

16th Jan, 2013

I‘m not used to seeing segregated America in pretty pastels. Typically, the civil rights photography we look at is in black & white and instantly disturbing. But these rare pictures, discovered after the photographer’s death at the bottom of an old storage box, wrapped in paper and masking tape and marked, “Segregation Series,” are unlike any images I’ve seen from this dark era of history.

The man behind the camera is LIFE photographer, Gordon Parks, who would say a portrait was a forceful “weapon of choice,” in the struggle against inequality. Parks was on assignment in September 1956 in the suburbs of the deep South under the Jim Crow segregation laws. Only twenty of the dozens of photos he took were published for the article and it was his foundation, the Gordon Parks Foundation that uncovered the rest of his photographs, thought lost forever, until last Spring.

I find it more than a little uncomfortable that I’m admiring a woman’s dress while she’s waiting in line for a “colored only” water fountain, but I think is why Parks’ photography was so effective. Quietly compelling, Parks took a unique approach towards the undoing of segregation and prejudice. In his depiction of African American life, he attempted to show white Americans just how similar their aspirations, responsibilities, habits, family life– even things as simple as their tastes in fashion, really were.

Photographs courtesy of the Gordon Parks foundation, sourced via the NYTimes

:::

YOU MIGHT ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:

.

You Might Also Like

Comments

More in Editor's PicksHow to start a subcultureInspiration VaultLife is MessyNostalgiaPeople / Icons / MusesTime travel

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

hells23

Hitching a ride with Hell’s Angels & Friends

On a Friday afternoon, when the clock is ticking slower than you've ever seen it tick before (you're absolutely sure of it), and all you want to do it burst out of the office and begin the weeken...

Trending 6,599
2554-5 Kinderzitje van fiets Amsterdam 1925

Preserved Moments of Historical Sass (Vol. 8)

I haven't done one of these for a while and I think it's about time we got the series going again. Not much to it, just me having a bit of fun curating the sassiest old school pictures I can find on n...

Trending 13,115
tincan

My Tin Can Tourism Club

I had my first tin can tourism experience this summer and ironically, I found it endlessly glamorous! You can read all about my experience here. Personally, I think tin can tourism needs a come...

Trending 4,309
rotonde

The Last Summer Night in Paris

I returned from a summer adventure away, expecting to slouch back into my same old rickety chair at my usual café terrace and wait for winter to find its way back to Paris, always too soon... ...

Trending 5,371