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 AwesomenessConversation StartersEditor's PicksHow to start a subcultureInspiration VaultLife is MessyPeople / Icons / Muses

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

wanda11

Meet me at the Girlfriends Café

I need to prioritise some Euro tripping with my girlfriends this summer, but of course getting a group of your ladies together even just for a night out can sometimes feel a little like herding c...

Trending 1,338
redvelvet_Fotor

For Sale: The Red Velvet Apartment in Paris

Isn't it just fabulous?! A little strange, but kinda fabulous. I'm picturing Jessica Rabbit smoking her cigarette pipe out of the window here on a misty evening in Paris, the opening scene for her...

Trending 3,526
graffitigang1

The Grandmothers Graffiti Gang

So you think your grandparents aren't "street" enough?  Too set in their ways to get down with the kids? Meet the granny graffiti gang of Lisbon, Portugal, pioneered by an unusual initiative givin...

Trending 5,378
fat1

Summer Sleepovers at the Mad Hatter’s new Digs

In a parallel world, at the end of the rabbit hole, where tea parties are just part of the daily routine, I hope this is what the architecture looks like. But this house seems to have made it out o...

Trending 2,552