In the American South, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the struggle to abolish racial segregation erupted in dramatic scenes at lunch counters, in schools, and in churches. The admission of James Meredith as the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi; the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; and the sanitation workers' strike in Memphis--where Martin Luther King was assassinated--rank as cardinal events in black Americans' fight for their civil rights. The photographs featured in I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970 bear witness to the courage of protesters who faced unimaginable violence and brutality as well as the quiet determination of the elderly and the angry commitment of the young. Talented photographers documented that decade and captured both the bravery of civil rights workers and the violence they faced. Most notably, this book features the work of Bob Adelman, Dan Budnik, Doris Derby, Roland Freeman, Danny Lyon, Art Shay, and Ernest Withers. Like the fabled music and tales of the American South, their photographs document the region's past, its people, and the places that shaped their lives. Protesters in these photographs generated the mighty leverage that eventually transformed a segregated South. The years from 1960 to 1970 unleashed both hope and profound change as desegregation opened public spaces and African Americans secured their rights. The photographs in this volume reveal, as only great photography can, the pivotal moments that changed history, and yet remind us how far we have to go.
About the Author
William R. Ferris is the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the senior associate director emeritus of its Center for the Study of the American South. The former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1997-2001), Ferris has written or edited ten books, created fifteen documentary films, and his most recent work, Voices of Mississippi, won two Grammy Awards for Best Liner Notes and for Best Historical Album in 2019. Lonnie G. Bunch III is the fourteenth secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He is the first African American and first historian to serve in that role. Bunch served as curator of history and program manager for the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from 1983 to 1989. He is author of A Fool's Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump.