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Frank Curtin

Reverend Ralph Abernathy addresses a rally on Boston Common after a march that was part of the northeast leg of the Poor People's March on Washington, May 9, 1968
Vintage wire photograph on paper
6 15/16 x 9 5/8 in. (17.62 x 24.45 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: P2021.13.1118

Poor People's March Leader Applauded: The Reverend Ralph David Abernathy is applauded after addressing a rally on Boston Common, the climax of a march from the predominately-black Roxbury area. Abernathy told the gathering "we are tired of the white man picking our leaders for us". The march was part of the northeast leg of the Poor People's March on Washington.

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: 6 15/16 x 9 5/8 in. (17.62 x 24.45 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 7 15/16 x 9 7/8 in. (20.16 x 25.08 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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