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 Art & Design AwesomenessDesirable DigsDon't Be A TouristHow to start a subcultureInspiration VaultLife is MessyOff-Beat & Little Known

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

5126739968_1a75759ab9_b

The USB Sticks Hidden in Walls across the World

Five years ago, Berlin-based media artist Aram Bartholl launched a project called 'Dead Drops'. I know, I'm a little late in taking notice, but the trouble is, Adam's project is rather hard to spo...

Trending 13,626
denver13

Take a Tour of a 1964 Underground Fallout Home

I found this little gem of a photo series on my weekly fish through the LIFE archives, accompanied by just a few clues to the full story behind it. Filed under "Underground House in Denver, phot...

Trending 7,469
donuthole

Documenting the Giants of Roadside America

California native, Debra Jane Seltzer, must have the most sizeable independently-run website I've ever come across– and that's not just because it's full of the roadside giants she documents. Road...

Trending 6,939
6844474921_98bf0fc0d6_b

Check into a Tiny Paradise Resort

You already know I dig miniatures but another thing I particularly love is bonsai trees, so when you throw the two together, I'm going to get a little over excited. Today I found the work of Takan...

Trending 5,081