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Institute of Advanced Study

Photography and the End of Segregation

Abstract

This paper studies the uses of photography and other visual media by American civil rights and black power organizations in the 1960s. Contrasting the media objectives of Martin Luther King Jr's Southern Christian Leadership conference to those of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and of the Black Panther Party, the paper argues that the Panthers aimed less to record than to reconfigure the visibility of the black citizen-subject. The Panthers' differently configured, more fluid vision of the black body constitutes a central and ongoing, yet productive, contradiction in their presence and legacy.

Insights Paper