Photographers Witness the March on Washington”
A Library of Congress symposium on Jan. 13 will bring together photographers who took pictures at the March on Washington more than 50 years ago.
“With Their Own Eyes: Photographers Witness the March on Washington” is being held in conjunction with the Library’s exhibition “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,” which is on view through March 1.
The symposium will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 13, in the Whittall Pavilion on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are needed.
Photographers featured in the exhibition, along with relatives of photographers no longer alive, will take part in the program. The participants include Bob Adelman; Theresa Lynn Carter, the daughter of Roosevelt Carter; Brigitte Freed, the widow of Leonard Freed; and David Johnson. They will share their accounts of the day and discuss how the march changed their lives. Keith Jenkins will moderate the discussion.
The program will begin with a welcome from Kim Phan, president of the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, which is co-sponsoring the symposium with the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division. The event is made possible through generous donations from Roberta I. Shaffer; the Leica Store in Washington, D.C. and the Friends of the Law Library.
Speakers at the Symposium
Bob Adelman is a photographer known for his images of the Civil Rights Movement. His interest in social and political events of the day drew him to the sit-ins staged by young students across the American South. In the early 1960s, he volunteered to photograph demonstrations for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He was close friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. and U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Adelman continues to be involved with civil rights issues and the human condition.
Theresa Lynn Carter is the daughter of Roosevelt Carter (1926-1981), who traveled to Washington with a church group from Columbus, Ohio. He brought along his camera to capture a personal view of the day. He focused on the thousands of faces along the March route from every walk of life, including the many celebrities.
Brigitte Freed is the widow of Leonard Freed (1929-2006) and was his darkroom assistant. The couple was based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, until a photograph taken by Leonard Freed of a black American soldier guarding the Berlin Wall compelled him 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.”
David Johnson is a professional photographer who credits Ansel Adams as his major influence. Johnson documented black life and culture in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. He attended the March on Washington as a delegate from the Bay Area NAACP and covered the event for a local newspaper.
Keith Jenkins, director of photography at the National Geographic Society, is a former supervising senior producer for multimedia at National Public Radio. Prior to working at NPR, Jenkins was the first director of photography at AOL. He spent 13 years at the Washington Post in various positions, from staff photographer to photography editor for the Washington Post Magazine and Washingtonpost.com. Earlier, Jenkins worked as a staff photographer for the Boston Globe.
After the symposium, tours of the exhibition will be offered. “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington” which opened on Aug. 28, 2013 and closes on March 1, 2014, consists of 40 iconic black-and-white images that mark what Martin Luther King, Jr., called “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the nation’s history.” The photographs, part of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division collections, convey the immediacy of being at the march and the excitement of those who were there. A video-screen display in the exhibition features another 75 images.
The Prints and Photographs Division includes more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints form the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a uniquely rich array of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/print/.