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Entertainer Flip Wilson escorts Mrs. Coretta Scott King from funeral services for her mother-in-law, Mrs. Martin Luther King Sr., in Atlanta, July 3, 1974
Vintage wire photograph with applied pigment on paper

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg in honor of Myrlie Evers-Williams.
Accession Number: P2021.13.64

Mourning: entertainer Flip Wilson, left, clutches his chest as he escorts Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from funeral services for her mother-in-law, Mrs. Martin Luther King Sr. in Atlanta Wednesday. The senior Mrs. King was shot to death while playing the organ during church service Monday.

Coretta Scott King (1927-2006) was an American author, activist and Civil Rights leader. She was the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., and she helped lead the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. She took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and worked to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Cleora "Flip" Wilson, Jr. (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998) was an American comedian and actor best known for his television appearances during the late 1960s and 1970s. From 1970 to 1974, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show, and introduced viewers to his recurring character Geraldine. The series earned Wilson a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards. At one point it was the second highest rated show on network television. Wilson was the first black person to host a successful variety TV show. (Sammy Davis Jr. had had a short-lived variety show in 1966.) In January 1972, Time magazine featured Wilson's image on its cover and named him "TV's first black superstar". Wilson released a number of comedy albums in the 1960s and 1970s, and won a Grammy Award for his 1970 album "The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress". After The Flip Wilson Show ended, Wilson kept performing and acting until the 1990s, though at a reduced schedule. He hosted a short-lived revival of People are Funny in 1984, and had the lead role in the 1985-1986 sitcom Charlie & Co.

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