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Unknown Photographer

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his top aide Reverend Ralph Abernathy enrolled five of their children in a previously-all-white elementary school in Atlanta, August 30, 1965
Vintage wire photograph on paper
7 9/16 x 9 1/2 in. (19.21 x 24.13 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: P2021.13.42

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his top aide Reverend Ralph Abernathy enrolled five of their children in a previously-all-white elementary school. Arriving to pick them up are Mrs. King and her two children, Yolanda and Martin Luther King III (left). Mrs. Abernathy has her two daughters, Donzaleigh and Juandalynn. Ralph Abernathy II, who also attended school, was not available for pictures, Atlanta.

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.

Martin Luther King III (b. 1957) is an American human rights advocate and community activist. He is the oldest son and oldest living child of Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. In 1997, King was unanimously elected to head the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a Civil Rights organization his father founded. Under King's leadership, the SCLC held hearings on police brutality and launched a successful campaign to change the Georgia state flag, which previously featured a large Confederate cross.

Yolanda Denise King (1955-2007) was an American activist and first-born child of Civil Rights leaders Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. She was also known for her artistic and entertainment endeavors and public speaking. Her childhood experience was greatly influenced by her father's highly public and influential activism. As a foot soldier in the Civil Rights Movement, Juanita Abernathy participated in all of the pivotal protests of the era. She helped rally the black community in Montgomery, Alabama as her husband Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956). She remained fearless in the face of relentless death threats meant to stop her and her husband's activism. In January 1957 while her husband and King traveled to Atlanta to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Juanita Abernathy and her infant daughter miraculously survived the bombing of their home by white supremacists. Abernathy continued her activism when she and her family moved to Atlanta in 1961. She worked to spur school desegregation in the city by enrolling her children in independent white schools. She accompanied her husband to the 1963 March on Washington and walked with him on the frontlines of the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. In 1966, Abernathy and her husband, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta, resided in a Chicago slum to protest housing conditions for blacks in what was then the most racially segregated large city in America. In recent years, Abernathy has traveled around the world speaking about her late husband's leadership role and her own experiences in the struggle, and urging others to continue the fight for justice and equality.

On recto: typewritten title and date.
On verso: United Press International 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 9/16 x 9 1/2 in. (19.21 x 24.13 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 8 1/16 x 10 in. (20.48 x 25.4 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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