This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement - Skirball Cultural Center
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Find hope in our capacity for collective action. This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement showcases more than 150 photographs that reveal the vital work undertaken by a broad coalition of young organizers and everyday people who fashioned a movement that changed America.
The exhibition highlights the work of nine photographers primarily affiliated with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s: Bob Adelman, George “Elfie” Ballis, Bob Fitch, Bob Fletcher, Matt Herron, David Prince, Herbert Randall, Maria Varela, and Tamio Wakayama.
Unlike photojournalists who only reported on breaking news events from an outsider’s perspective, these nine photographers—of different ethnic, racial, religious, and geographic backgrounds—lived within the Movement and documented its activities by focusing on local people and socially-engaged students to portray community life as well as protest.
In addition to the photographs, the exhibition will include audio recordings of the photographers recalling their time in the Movement, as well as protest music, posters, newspapers, and informational booklets from the 1960s. These objects featured SNCC photographs, revealing how the organization used photography to raise awareness of their activism. The final section of the Skirball’s presentation highlights the enduring fight for voting rights taking place in Los Angeles and across the country, offering a way forward as our society continues to grapple with anti-Black violence and broad discrimination and disenfranchisement.
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