Iconic 50-year-old civil rights imageson June 5, 2020 at 8:10 am

This story originally ran in 2017.

Over the past weeks, the news has been filled with striking images of people protesting around the world as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the 1960s, Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson chronicled the protests of the civil rights movement in the US. “In order for me to make meaningful photographs, I had to be close,” he says in this video.

When he accompanied civil rights protestors on the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965, Davidson had to rely on his own speed to maintain that closeness. “I didn’t have a motor scooter or anything, so when I lifted my camera to take a picture I lost maybe 15 or 20 feet… I had to run to catch up,” he says in the video, in which he also discusses his images of Martin Luther King Jr and a former slave he photographed at the age of 110.

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“I photographed people who voted for the first time in their life, and they were in their seventies, and that was very moving,” he says. “It was important for someone to document what was happening in the South, and step into that world.”

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