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Unknown Photographer

Freedom Marchers jam an area along the Detroit River near Cobo Hall Arena (right). They could not gain entrance to hear Reverend Martin Luther King speak., June 23, 1963
Vintage wire photograph on paper
6 7/8 x 9 5/16 in. (17.46 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: P2021.13.593

Freedom Marchers Overflow Area on Detroit Waterfront: Freedom Marchers jam an area along the Detroit River today. They were unable to gain admission to packed Cobo Hall Arena (right) to hear Reverend Martin Luther King. He was speaking after a protest parade in which an estimated 100,000 black people participated. Loudspeakers brought the address to the overflowing crowd. Downtown Windsor, Ontario, is visible in the background.

Freedom Riders were Civil Rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated South starting in 1961 to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v. Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. The Southern states had ignored the rulings, and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The Freedom Riders challenged this status quo by riding interstate buses in the South in mixed racial groups to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation in seating. The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement. They called national attention to the disregard for federal law and the local violence used to enforce segregation in the Southern United States. Police arrested riders for trespassing, unlawful assembly, violating state and local Jim Crow laws, and other alleged offenses---but often they let white mobs attack them first without intervening.

Associated Press ID #6306230100

On recto: typewritten title and date.
On verso: Associated Press stamp and 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: 6 7/8 x 9 5/16 in. (17.46 x 23.65 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 8 1/16 x 9 15/16 in. (20.48 x 25.24 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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