Photographs

The events surrounding the civil rights struggle in the South were very dramatic. National media flocked there, including many distinguished photographers, leaving us with a vivid pictorial history of the times.

  • The Violence
    In 1964 several civil rights groups including the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committe, Southern Chrisitan Leadership Conference, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Congress of Racial Equality, banded together to form COFO, the Council of Federated Organizations. Its goal was to register black Mississippians to vote, and its vehicle became the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964. A young photographer, Danny Lyon, captured the fears and hopes of the times.

    • Frightened Boy
      The threat of white violence was terrifying. Lyon and COFO used this photograph to express both that fear and also the hope of youth, of a new generation of Mississippians.
    • Police Threat
      It was a hope not shared by Most of the white community did not share the hope. In this image, Lyon captured the essence of the threat of violence officially sanctioned by police.
  • Poverty and Mississippi
    The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known by its acronym, SNCC (pronounced “Snick”), informed the North about conditions in Mississippi through this pamphlet. It linked the disabling effects of poverty to the importance of family to the need for the  vote.

    • Hunger
      In a nation awash in food, black rural families in Mississippi suffered from hunger. Living on the crops they cultivated, they did not have enough to eat.
    • Family
      Amidst poverty, families persisted. A mother and daughter, members of the rural poor, embrace each other in comfort.
    • Power
      Only through the political power of the vote could blacks in Mississippi better their lives and end poverty.
    • Food
      SNCC workers risked their lives in Mississippi – but every day northerners could help the cause through donations of food. This pamphlet urged the contribution of small, every day actions to bring about larger changes of social and racial justice.