Their Work Clearly Exposed America's Racism

Canon camera
Via Pixabay
Leslie Taylor-Grover
July 15, 2021

The photographs taken during the civil rights movement have supported our fight for liberation by allowing us to see the truth firsthand – both oppression and triumph in crystal clarity. But who are the activist photographers who made those images possible?

#1: Gordon Parks.

He’s known as one of the greatest photographers in the 20th century. More than that, he knew his camera could be used to create change and fight poverty and racism.

#2: Ernest Withers.

We might call this photographer a double-crossing coon because he worked as an informant for the FBI. But he also gave us countless iconic images of the movement, and he used his position within the FBI to occasionally defend the movement internally.

#3: RC Hickman and Calvin Littlejohn.

These photographers captured everyday life of our people during the civil rights movement. From praising in church to chopping cotton, these photojournalists honored the ordinary people we were during extraordinary times.

The images of the civil rights movement remind us of the truth of the everyday struggles and triumphs of fighting for liberation in a country that isn’t honest about its racism. We must remember that honest documentation of our history – and present – helps ensure a more vibrant future.

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