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 AbandonedDon't Be A TouristEditor's PicksNostalgiaOff-Beat & Little Known

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

saba

Who Knew Candy Could be So Damn Sexy?

"I had a dream when I was 12, that if I buried my mixtapes in the ground, they would turn into candy", remembers Mayaan, who used to be the Creative Director of a lingerie brand and now makes candy ...

Trending 1,833
vangogh1

Spend a Night inside a Van Gogh Painting

What would it be like to go inside the mind of one of the most brilliant and misunderstood artists of all time? To potter around in his own bedroom, an intimate space that so inspired him? Well, if...

Trending 3,080
ropoto1

Take an Eerie Tour of Greece’s Sinking Ghost Town

Ropoto was the perfect little Greek village that sunk. It was once a happy and peaceful place in central Greece, home to 300 families but today, it lies in ruin, a ghost town emptied of its reside...

Trending 11,549