Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement

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In the summer of 1962, Danny Lyon, a twenty-year-old University of Chicago history student, packed a Nikon Reflex and an old Leica in an army bag and hitch-hiked south. Within a week he was in jail in Albany, Georgia, looking through the bars at another prisoner, Martin Luther King, Jr. Lyon soon became the first staff photographer for the Atlanta-based Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which already had a reputation as one of the most committed and confrontational groups fighting for civil ...
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Overview

In the summer of 1962, Danny Lyon, a twenty-year-old University of Chicago history student, packed a Nikon Reflex and an old Leica in an army bag and hitch-hiked south. Within a week he was in jail in Albany, Georgia, looking through the bars at another prisoner, Martin Luther King, Jr. Lyon soon became the first staff photographer for the Atlanta-based Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which already had a reputation as one of the most committed and confrontational groups fighting for civil rights. In Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, Lyon tells the compelling story of how a handful of dedicated young people, both black and white, forged one of the most successful grassroots organizations in American history. In addition to his own photographs, Lyon includes here a selection of historic SNCC documents such as press releases, telephone logs, letters, and minutes of meetings. This combination of pictures, contemporary eyewitness reports, and text creates both a work of art and an authentic work of history. As SNCC's staff photographer, Danny Lyon was present at some of the most violent and dramatic moments of civil rights history: Black Monday in Danville, Virginia; the aftermath of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham; the March on Washington in 1963; the violent winters of 1963 and 1964 in Atlanta; and the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. But Lyon's photographs are more than just a record of marches, jailings, and protests. They take us inside the movement - to the meetings, organizing work, and voter registration drives that were the less visible but no less important side of the struggle. By the time Danny Lyon left SNCC and the South in 1964, there was an emerging focus on black consciousness in the organization. The movement was changing course and pointing North. Many people have since forgotten the idealistic and truly multiracial character of the movement's early years. Lyon's pictures, taken d

In the summer of 1962, 20-year-old Danny Lyon packed his cameras and hitchhiked south. Within a week he was in jail in Georgia, looking through the bars at another prisoner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lyon's photos and text are more just a record of marches, jailings, and protests, they take us behind the scenes to chronicle the southern Civil Rights movementfirsthand. 235 duotone pho tos. (Univ. of North Carolina Press)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lyon, a young Jewish New Yorker, joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1962 as a photographer. The 212 black-and-white photographs shown here, taken from 1962 to 1965, document that short-lived, influential civil rights organization before it was undone by assassinations, the rise of the antiwar movement and the SNCC's espousal of black militancy. Lyon's images of cafeteria sit-ins and street demonstrations, showing sanguine, missionary-like protestors and furious, tight-lipped cops, are stark portraits of tension. The power of Lyon's photos is undiminished by his occasionally awkward text. Lyon debunks the myth that the 1963 march on Washington and Martin Luther King's 1965 march to Montgomery were the pivotal events of the movement; rather, they were mostly for the benefit of the media. Far more important, he writes, were the small-town skirmishes arising from the local Southern movement. Lyon ( The Bike riders ) also carefully describes the racial tensions within SNCC that were partially responsible for his leaving. The book is an honest, rich statement, transmitting the tumult, cross-purposes and devotion of the era. (Dec.)
Booknews
Photojournalist Lyon recalls in words and photographs his experiences as the first staff photographer for the Atlanta-based Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the early 1960s demonstrations. His visual work powerfully conveys the spirit of the civil rights movement, and his anecdotes and chronology document the events. No index. 9.5x12". Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807843864
  • Publisher: University of North Carolina Press, The
  • Publication date: 12/1/1992
  • Series: Lyndhurst Series on the South Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 9.09 (w) x 12.13 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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