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Unknown Photographer



Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy, pastor of the black First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, smiles after a deputy sheriff arrests him for participating in Montgomery's long bus boycott, February 1956
Vintage wire photograph on paper
6 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. (17.15 x 11.43 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: P2021.13.89

Commentary
Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy, pastor of the black First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, smiles after a deputy sheriff arrests him for participating in Montgomery's long bus boycott by black people.

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.

Marks
On verso: typewritten title, date stamp and newspaper caption with date stamp affixed.

Materials
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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Dimensions
  • Image Dimensions: 6 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. (17.15 x 11.43 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 7 3/16 x 5 1/4 in. (18.26 x 13.34 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen


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