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Photographers of March on Washington discussed it at Library of Congress Jan. 13

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The Library of Congress hosted a discussion Jan. 13 by photographers who took pictures at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom more than 50 years ago.

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The seminar, "With Their Own Eyes: Photographers Witness the March on Washington", is in conjunction with the Library's exhibition "A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington", on view through March 1. Both are free.

Photographers whose famous images are featured in the exhibition, and relatives of deceased photographers, participated in the program:

  • Bob Adelman's images of the Civil Rights Movement are among the most widely recognized, the Library noted. Adelman has said that when he showed Martin Luther King Jr. a photo Adelman made of demonstrators being hosed, "King commented on the beauty of what was obviously a painful experience." Adelman had volunteered to photograph demonstrations for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in the early 1960s, and continued working with civil rights issues for the next four decades.
  • David Johnson, Ansel Adams' first African American student, attended the March on Washington as a delegate from California's Bay Area NAACP, and covered it for a local newspaper. Johnson has said, "I always felt the drive to record my people’s hopes, dreams, and struggles. As an African American experiencing racism and discrimination, I felt that I empowered the people I photographed to see themselves more positively." Johnson's biography, illustrated with his photographs, is "A Dream Begun So Long Ago" (Khedcanron Publishing).
  • Brigitte Freed is the widow and former darkroom assistant of Magnum photographer Leonard Freed. The couple was based in Europe until a photograph taken by Leonard Freed of a black American soldier guarding the Berlin Wall compelled Freed to return home to the United States to document the civil rights struggle in 1963. Freed's photographs from 1963 to 1965 were published in the now-classic book "Black in White America" (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles). Another book of Freed's photographs was published by the museum for the 50th anniversary: "This is the Day: The March on Washington".
  • Theresa Lynn Carter is the daughter of Roosevelt Carter, a march participant who photographed ordinary participants as well as celebrities, including gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Theresa Lynn Carter found her father's negatives by chance after his death.

The moderator was Keith Jenkins, photography director at the National Geographic Society. Formerly, Jenkins was with National Public Radio, AOL, and the "Washington Post".

Martin Luther King Jr. called the March on Washington Aug. 28, 1963 "the greatest demonstration for freedom in the nation’s history."

Dr. King's comments that day in his "I Have A Dream" speech echo today, "We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline...Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."

For more info: "With Their Own Eyes: Photographers Witness the March on Washington", Jan. 13, from 1-4 P.M., Whittall Pavilion, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are needed. Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, www.loc.gov/rr/print/.

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