Monday, June 17, 2013

Segregation Series, In Color



I had my last birth yesterday to certify as a doula. But because I met them at the hospital at 2 a.m. with only having gotten a half an hour of sleep, I'm dead woman walking today.
So I'm going to give you guys something to think about.

When I first saw this series of photographs I was stunned.

As the woman in the article where I originally found these photos pointed out; I'm admiring this woman's skirt as I'm looking at a photo of her waiting in line to use the "appropriate" drinking fountain. Doesn't that make you feel a little strange or uncomfortable?
They are previously unpublished color photographs that Gordon Parks took for LIFE magazine in 1956, following an extended family and the struggles they went through under the Jim Crow laws in the south during segregation. The Gordon Parks Foundation recently found them in a box marked "Segregation Series"
 I think my favorite thing that he captured in these photos is that they're every day moments. These are moments that they probably went through every week if not every day under the Jim Crow laws. That is what makes these photos so stunning to me.
I don't know if I had ever seen color photographs that highlight segregation before. Yes, black and white photographs show the line of segregation clearly, but there's something about seeing them in color that makes them so real. A lot of people my age, who haven't grown up in the south really have no idea what segregation was like. I think these photos that he took of this family, of their everday circumstances highlight what a normal family they were. They weren't any different from white families of the time, other than the law made them different. And that, is crazy.

Please go look at the rest of the photographs published by the Gordon Park's Foundation on the NYtimes  website.
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9 comments:

Rachel said...

It's shocking to see segregation portrayed so blatantly. Racism still exists today, obviously--but I think we can be glad that at least it's not quite so openly practiced and legislated as in the era of segregation.

Susannah said...

Wow, that really does speak wonders! As someone with black siblings, I know very well that racism isn't as gone as most Americans want to believe. It's heartbreaking but it really is improving year by year!

lost in travels said...

first off, congrats on completing your last birth! what a great accomplishment!
and secondly, these photos are so intriguing. i think you're right, seeing them in color gives them a completely different feel than black and white.

April said...

Congrats on your last birth!

I'm from rural Alabama, so these photos have always been very real for me.

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Makes me feel uncomfortable but these are also incredible pictures.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I don't think I've ever seen segregation photos in color. Thanks for posting them and the link to the site for more.

Ashley said...

It's insane to think that segregation and these ridiculous laws were real back in the day.

Selma @ Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

As a history lover (US especially) I love these photos. I read and wrote a ton about the segregation laws and still cannot comprehend everything. And even if I do, I don't want to and at the same time, I want to. I have seen segregation photos in color before but these are amazing.

Such a great post!!!!!!
Thanks for sharing, girl.

Haylee said...

I agree, the colored photos really bring the horror home. It's amazing how naive our country was at one point, but I appreciate you posting these because at the same time it's good to know. Or at least see what they really had to go through, you know?

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