PHOTOBOOK: LEONARD FREED - THIS IS THE DAY

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963.

Documentary photojournalist Leonard Freed was one of the 200,000 - 250,000 people in the crowd that day. He died of prostate cancer in 2006, but a new book of his photos from that day, This Is The Day: The March On Washington, was released in February.

Brigitte Freed, Leonard’s wife, recalls: "It was a self-assigned story. Nobody asked him to do this story."

Although most Americans were hearing King’s words for the first time, he had actually delivered some of the same phrases in a Detroit speech a couple of months before.

"That having been said, it doesn’t mean that his charisma wasn’t extraordinary," says Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, who wrote the essay in the book. "King … stood at the sunlit summit of expectation and articulated a dream as golden and as powerful … now as it was then — and Leonard Freed captures those people who King felt were worth fighting for."

Freed’s wife recalls: "Leonard didn’t stop taking pictures until the last protesters had headed home. I think what we see is the remarkable recording of the silent dignity of the masses of black people and their allies." (+)

 
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© AP Photo, undated, MLK Rally, St. Paul, Minn.
Richard Nunn shows Jovan Olson a picture of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a rally in Minnesota’s Capitol. The rally was to commemorate King’s birthday and to call for a state holiday in his name.
Martin Luther King died 45 years ago today. May his soul rest in peace.
Read an obituary on him on obitoftheday.com
» see more pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. here «

© AP Photo, undated, MLK Rally, St. Paul, Minn.

Richard Nunn shows Jovan Olson a picture of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a rally in Minnesota’s Capitol. The rally was to commemorate King’s birthday and to call for a state holiday in his name.

Martin Luther King died 45 years ago today. May his soul rest in peace.

Read an obituary on him on obitoftheday.com

» see more pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. here «

© James Karales, 1962, The King family at home, Atlanta

James Karales became a staff photographer at Look magazine in 1960, and for the next eleven years traveled the world as a photojournalist. (read more)

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
(Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

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© Paul Schutzer, 1961, Montgomery, Alabama

'A Freedom Rider sleeps at a safe house, his copy of Dr. King's Stride Toward Freedom close at hand.'

It’s mid-spring, 1961. In the kitchen of a safe house in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is tense. In the house with the 32-year-old civil rights leader are 17 students — fresh-faced college kids who, moved by King’s message of racial equality, are literally putting their lives at risk. These are the groundbreaking practitioners of nonviolent civil disobedience known as the Freedom Riders, and over the past two harrowing weeks, as they’ve traveled across the state on integrated buses, their numbers have diminished at every stop in the face of arrests, mob beatings, and even fire-bombings.

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#1: © Ken Ross:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and one of his aides, Jesse Jackson, at Mason Temple Wednesday, April 3, 1968. On that stormy night, Dr. King delivered his last public speech to an audience of more than 2,000. The speech has become known as the “Mountaintop” speech.

#2: © Charles Nicholas:
A youth hoisted an upraised fist - a symbol of black power - as the airplane carrying Coretta Scott King and the body of her husband departed Memphis for Atlanta April 5, 1968.

#3: © Sam Melhorn
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and three of the couple’s four children - Yolanda King (left), Martin Luther King III and Dexter King - led a march through downtown Memphis Monday, April 8, 1968. The march, originally planned to refocus attention on the sanitation strike, became a memorial to King.

#4: © Charles Nicholas
On Friday morning, April 5, 1968, more than 300 mourners paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home, 374 Vance. "Jesus will take care of him," one mother whispered to her little boy. An old man in coveralls and shoes without toes waited his turn in line. When he reached the casket he leaned over and said, "We won’t give up, and we won’t bring no shame to your name." It was a tiny chapel, draped in lavender. People were shoulder to shoulder when Dr. Ralph Abernathy, King’s top aide and closest friend, arrived. Dr. Abernathy led them in a stanza of the civil right’s leader’s theme song, "We Shall Overcome."

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© Hiro (aka Yasuhiro Wakabayashi), 1968, Martin Luther King Funeral
Published in Esquire magazine, August 1968.
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”
With these words, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. built a crescendo to his final speech on April 3, 1968. The next day, the civil rights leader was shot and killed on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. At the time he was assassinated in Memphis, Dr. King was involved in one of his greatest plans to dramatize the plight of the poor and stir Congress to help blacks. He called his venture the “Poor People’s Campaign.” - adapted from the New York Times’ obituary, April 5, 1968. (read more; see pictures of LIFE magazine here)
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© Hiro (aka Yasuhiro Wakabayashi), 1968, Martin Luther King Funeral

Published in Esquire magazine, August 1968.

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”

With these words, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. built a crescendo to his final speech on April 3, 1968. The next day, the civil rights leader was shot and killed on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. At the time he was assassinated in Memphis, Dr. King was involved in one of his greatest plans to dramatize the plight of the poor and stir Congress to help blacks. He called his venture the “Poor People’s Campaign.” - adapted from the New York Times’ obituary, April 5, 1968. (read more; see pictures of LIFE magazine here)

» see pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. here «

© Joe Tilson, 1969-1970, K - The death of Martin Luther King

From the portfolio A-Z Box… fragments of an oneiric alphabet.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Other side of the print:

image

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© Christopher Morris, Jan. 17, 2012, Portrait of Barack Obama, Oval Office, White House, Washington D.C.

Caption: 'Obama sits in the Oval Office during a meeting with senior advisers.' In my opinion, this is a funny way to call Abraham Lincoln & Martin Luther King, Jr. (read more)

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© Jack Thornell, March 28, 1968, Memphis Sanitation Strike

A police officer uses his nightstick on a youth reportedly involved in the looting that followed the breakup of a march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March 28, in Memphis, Tenn. Black leaders accused the police of brutality while police officers said they did what was necessary to restore order. In the wake of the violence, a curfew was imposed and more than 3,800 National Guardsmen were rushed to the city.

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© Dean Brown, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Happy Birthday Mr. King!

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