Platon's Photos of Civil Rights Heroes

Platon's Photos of Civil Rights Heroes
The New Yorker's Feb. 15-22, 2010 issue featured a remarkable portfolio of civil rights-era leaders photographed by Platon. Titled "The Promise," it also has an introduction by New Yorker editor David Remnick. The portfolio includes portraits of Malcolm X's daughters, Jesse Jackson, Muhammad Ali, former Black Panther Party leaders, the Little Rock Nine, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth of Birmingham, and many more.

The New Yorker's website features a slideshow of the photographs, with accompanying video and audio interviews, and many more archival images (the photographic composite above is taken from the website).

As good and engaging as the website slideshow is, this portfolio is a graphic reminder of the effectiveness of printed images. Looking at these pages of The New Yorker, you're hit dead-on by both the power of Platon's work and the amazing history and personal dedication and sacrifice that these photographs represent. I'm going to get all old school and say that no iPad presentation, no website slideshow will ever have the same impact as seeing these amazing images on a printed page. Respect the online, but love the print.




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The Little Rock Nine, at Little Rock Central High School. They integrated the high school in September 1957 escorted by army troops.


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(Left): Tommie Smith and John Carlos, recreating their famous black power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics (the original photo is inset on top). (Right): Muhammad Ali.


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(Left): Black Panther Party members in Oakland, 1968, photograph by Stephen Shames. (Right): Former Black Panther members Emory Douglas, Bobby Rush, and Kathleen Cleaver.

All photographs by Platon except where noted.


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