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 AwesomenessInspiration VaultNostalgiaTime travel

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

parishorror7

The Paris Horror Show

Friday night at the theatre would never be quite the same again. Down a dark Parisian alleyway, sheer horror awaited on stage... The Theatre du Grand Guignol, the smallest in Paris, was a forme...

Trending 997
micronation

An Insider’s Guide to the Unknown Kingdoms

One of my first ever published articles back when I was writing for a local magazine in London, was about a street in Notting Hill called Freston Road, which declared independence from the United...

Trending 2,963
stpaul8

The Hidden Antiques Village of the Marais, Paris

On a Sunday stroll from the river Seine to the bustling Marais, take the Rue Saint-Paul, a street lined with medieval archways leading to hidden passages and secret treasures. Sneak through resid...

Trending 12,127