Topic: [The Guardian] The big picture: a hands-on Martin Luther King  (Read 101 times)

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[The Guardian] The big picture: a hands-on Martin Luther King
« on: October 13, 2020, 07:09:56 PM »
The big picture: a hands-on Martin Luther King

Leonard Freed’s image of the civil rights leader is a rare optimistic moment in a series on racial injustice in 60s America

There are many things to focus on in this picture of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s joyous homecoming, having received the Nobel peace prize, but your eye can’t help but be drawn to the hands that grasp his. King’s was the voice of the US civil rights movement but human touch was seminal to his message; solidarity was about linked arms, shoulder-to-shoulder physicality. The determination of the women who crowd the car to clutch at his outstretched fingers speaks not of star-struck celebrity but of a desire to share strength and to receive it.

This photograph, taken in Baltimore in 1964, was the centrepiece of Leonard Freed’s book Black in White America, itself a fundamental document of those years, now republished to mark another pivotal juncture in the struggle for racial justice. Freed travelled his segregated country for two years between 1963 and 1965, looking hard at the division that defined it. Some of those pictures – of a corridor of black hands reaching through prison bars, of mass rallies demanding an end to police brutality – could have been taken this summer.

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