I Am a Man: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960–1970

William R. Ferris. Univ. Press of Mississippi, $40 (148p) ISBN 978-1-4968-3162-0
Ferris, a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill, delivers a powerful photographic retrospective of the civil rights movement. Photographs taken during the March on Washington, the Selma to Montgomery March, the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike, and the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. showcase some of the pivotal moments of the era. The strength of these images lies in how they capture the humanity of individuals; people are not depicted as faces in a crowd, but rather as determined men and women who are peacefully, yet fiercely, advocating for a brighter future. The photograph of a 105-year-old woman (and former slave) registering to vote for the first time is haunting and mesmerizing, as is the sight of a veteran bearing a sign with a slogan about how he found more equality fighting in Vietnam than he has in his own country. Yet images of lynching victims and Klan rallies make clear the risks faced by those fighting for change. As Ferris writes in his introduction, “These photographs forced the viewer to decide whether they were with or against the change that was unstoppable.” This is a moving and riveting look at the extraordinary people who came together to shape history. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 02/04/2021
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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