Mine Eyes Have Seen

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Pictures from the book Mine Eyes Have Seen

Stirring and triumphant photographs evoke the heady days of the Civil Rights Movement when America faced its worst nightmare and the Dream won.

Fueled by the powerful imagery in MINE EYES HAVE SEEN we take a rollercoaster ride peering through the eyes of LIFE photographer Bob Adelman as our nation struggles. We are both seared and uplifted by unforgettable photographs of our nation’s dramatic journey through its still aching racial conflicts.

Incredibly, only a generation ago we were shamefully divided and separated according to our skin color by public signs. Selfless activists from all walks of life rallied under inspired leaders to dismantle those last vestiges of slavery. Picture by picture we see racial barriers fall confronted with moral outrage and public scrutiny. In some of the most riveting images we are reminded that racism was not restricted to one section of the nation. Attuned to the vitality and expressiveness of African American culture, we see evocative and penetrating portraits of artists and writers as diverse as the Quilters of Gees Bend, Ralph Ellison, Sidney Poitier, James Baldwin, and Tina Turner. Together with the Black Church, the extraordinary creativity of artists and ordinary folk were formidable resources from which the Movement drew it strength and its inventiveness. Concluding on a note of celebration, the photographs reveal ever increasing signs of racial reconciliation.

Inspired by the courage of student’s demonstrators, Bob Adelman began as a volunteer for CORE and SNCC riskily taking photographs of Freedom Rides and lunch counter demonstrations. His insightful coverage led to assignments and cover stories for national and international magazines. He has been honored as a Guggenheim Fellow and an American Endowment of the Arts Grantee. Among his books are DOWN HOME, THE NEXT AMERICA and VISIONS OF LIBERTY.

   Charles Johnson is the author of the National Book Award winning novel MIDDLE PASSAGE, numerous non fiction books including KING: The Photobiography of Martin Luther King. Among his many honors is a MacArthur Fellowship and Academy Award from American Institute of Arts and Letters. He is the Pollock Professor of Writing at The University of Washington in Seattle.