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.)
Danny Lyon translated his belief in integration into action when he traveled from the University of Chicago to the Deep South to document the civil rights movement as part of his work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the early 1960s. This powerful volume captures the commitment and courage of that seminal era in 212 photographs, many published for the first time, and in Lyon's detailed account of the people involved and the places they changed. Each black-and-white photograph holds us in the gaze of the people it portrays, be they young, frightened, but determined demonstrators, or their steady, restrained, but equally unwavering elders, or the mocking, grimly glaring police or angry white bystanders. Lyon photographed the famous and the unsung, the brave and the mean, the thinkers behind the sit-ins and marches, and the bold participants--as proud under arrest as walking free. The struggle for civil rights has crystallized in our minds around certain oft-repeated images. Here are some fresh takes on this all-too-recent and too easily neglected slice of our history, a point in the evolution of our country that should be valued and kept vital.
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)