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Unknown Photographer

Reverend Ralph David Abernathy leads his National Welfare Rights Organization to front row seats in a convention hall in Miami Beach, July 5, 1972
Vintage wire photograph on paper
7 1/16 x 9 11/16 in. (17.94 x 24.61 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: P2021.13.95

First Delegation: Reverend Ralph David Abernathy gestures as he leads his National Welfare Rights Organization to front row seats in a convention hall in Miami Beach. He and other leaders spoke from the yet-to-be-completed podium on the site of the Democratic National Convention, which starts July 10.

Ralph Abernathy (1926-1990) was a Baptist minister who, with Martin Luther King, Jr., organized the historic Montgomery Bus Boycotts. Abernathy co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was a major Civil Rights figure, serving as close adviser to King and later assuming SCLC Presidency.

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 1/16 x 9 11/16 in. (17.94 x 24.61 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 8 x 10 3/16 in. (20.32 x 25.88 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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