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Charles Bennett

(active )

Political activist Angela Davis (left) chats with Joan Little in Washington DC at a rally protesting government conspiracies against political activists in North Carolina, May 31, 1975
Vintage wire photograph on paper
7 1/8 x 9 5/16 in. (18.1 x 23.65 cm)

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg in honor of Myrlie Evers-Williams.
Accession Number: P2021.13.1023

Before The Rally: Political activist Angela Davis (left) chats with Joan Little, who goes on trial July 14 in Raleigh, North Carolina on charges that she stabbed a Beaufort County jailer to death. The women gathered with others in Washington DC on Saturday for a rally protesting alleged government conspiracies against political activists in North Carolina.

Angela Davis (1944-present) is an educator and activist who became known for her involvement in a politically-charged murder case in the early 1970s. Influenced by her segregated upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama, Davis joined the Black Panthers and an all-black branch of the Communist Party as a young woman. Davis was charged with aiding the botched escape attempt of imprisoned black radical George Jackson; she served roughly 18 months in jail before her acquittal in 1972.

Joan Little (pronounced "Jo Ann") (born 1953) is a black woman charged for the 1974 murder of Clarence Alligood, a white prison guard at Beaufort County Jail in Washington, North Carolina. Little's trial made her a cause célèbre of the Civil Rights, Feminist, and Anti-death Penalty Movements. She was the first woman in United States history to be acquitted using the defense that she used deadly force to resist sexual assault. Her case has become classic in legal circles as a pioneering instance of the application of scientific jury selection.

On recto: typewritten title and date.
On verso: date stamp.

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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  • Image Dimensions: 7 1/8 x 9 5/16 in. (18.1 x 23.65 cm) Measured by Cornejo-Reynoso, Aitzin
  • Sheet Dimensions: 8 x 9 9/16 in. (20.32 x 24.29 cm) Measured by Cornejo-Reynoso, Aitzin

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