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ALABAMA PAPER RUNS DISCARDED CIVIL RIGHTS PHOTOS

Intern uncovers box full of images unused by editors.

*The Birmingham News on Sunday ran a series of civil rights era photos that an intern found recently buried deep inside of an equipment closet. 

The discarded images were discovered in a box marked “Keep. Do Not Sell” by editors at the time who felt that publishing the photos – most of them depicting violent confrontations between police and blacks on the front line – would exacerbate racial tensions in the city.

“The editors thought if you didn’t publish it, much of this would go away,” said Ed Jones, 81, a photographer at The News from 1942 to 1987. “Associated Press kept on wanting pictures, and The News would be slow on letting them have them, so they flooded the town with photographers.”

On Sunday (Feb. 24), the photos finally went to print in a special eight-page section called “Unseen. Unforgotten.” Others are on the newspaper’s Web site at http://www.al.com/unseen.

Several photos depict the segregation in the South at the time, including the disparity among school buildings and the different lines for blacks and whites, even at the jail as the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth posts bail after an arrest.

Other pictures show a police officer shoving a demonstrator, black children being sprayed by a firehose, crowds heckling demonstrators on their knees, Freedom Riders being arrested, and whites throwing bricks at cars and blocking blacks from entering “whites-only” areas. 

Catherine Burks Brooks, 66, a Birmingham teacher who was part of a group of Freedom Riders while a student at Tennessee State University, is featured in one of the photos. 

“I was very, very thrilled to see that we do have them,” she told the Associated Press after learning about the newly found photos. “I knew the pictures had to exist, but they were being kept somewhere.”


Posted by loni on 03/01 at 11:18 AM in Photography

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