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I AM A MAN - Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970


Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1970

By William R. Ferris
Foreword by Lonnie G. Bunch III
Hardcover : 9781496831620, 152 pages, 25 color and 113 b&w photographs, February 2021

Unforgettable photographs from flash points of the civil rights struggle


In the American South, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the struggle to abolish racial segregation erupted in dramatic scenes at lunch counters, in schools, and in churches. The admission of James Meredith as the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi; the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; and the sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis—where Martin Luther King was assassinated—rank as cardinal events in black Americans’ fight for their civil rights.

The photographs featured in I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960–1970 bear witness to the courage of protesters who faced unimaginable violence and brutality as well as the quiet determination of the elderly and the angry commitment of the young. Talented photographers documented that decade and captured both the bravery of civil rights workers and the violence they faced. Most notably, this book features the work of Bob Adelman, Dan Budnik, Doris Derby, Roland Freeman, Danny Lyon, Art Shay, and Ernest Withers. Like the fabled music and tales of the American South, their photographs document the region’s past, its people, and the places that shaped their lives.

Protesters in these photographs generated the mighty leverage that eventually transformed a segregated South. The years from 1960 to 1970 unleashed both hope and profound change as desegregation opened public spaces and African Americans secured their rights. The photographs in this volume reveal, as only great photography can, the pivotal moments that changed history, and yet remind us how far we have to go.


"This is a moving and riveting look at the extraordinary people who came together to shape history. "

- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The photographs in this volume may be from more than fifty years ago, but their impact carries through to the present ,emphasizing the continued need to identify injustice and resist it."

- David Wharton, The Southern Register

"The photographs in I AM A MAN bring to life the strife and strength that breathed through the civil rights movement. These striking images are teeming with life and motion and place the reader inside these vital moments in American history. William R. Ferris’s text provides a path for the reader through each period of the movement and is packed with insightful commentary. Not only is this book beautiful, it may be one of the most important collections on the civil rights movement."

- Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation and fellow of the Institute for Urban Design

"These amazing, powerful, and poignant images remind us of not just the powerful moments like the Ernest Withers shots of Martin Luther King Jr. or the way Spider Martin captured the bravery and the carnage of ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Selma, Alabama, but also the less remembered, smaller acts of bravery and resistance like my dad quietly confronting segregation or the image of the dignified African American woman in the ‘paddy-wagon’ in Birmingham by Bob Adelman. This collection helps us realize how significant actions and more modest, often unacknowledged victories helped to transform a nation."

- From the foreword by Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

"The pictures themselves are striking and even though many photographs pertaining to the civil rights movement have been published over the last fifty-sixty years, I don’t believe I have seen most, if any, of the ones published in this book before. They offer a different perspective to that time period that will not be lost among the many books and exhibits that have come out recently. William Ferris’s book will garner attention from a wide public, photography enthusiasts, and civil rights advocates."

- David Cheramie, founding member of Les Amis de l'Immersion and Action Cadienne and author of the book of poetry Julie Choufleur ou les preuves d’amour

"William Ferris’s collection of civil rights photographs and short essays presents an overview of landmark moments in the civil rights struggle. The straightforward presentation of information in chronological fashion makes this book a good resource for undergraduate history courses as well as for the general, nonacademic reader."

- Annette Joseph-Gabriel, assistant professor of French and Francophone studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and author of Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire