It’s an amazing opportunity to touch (with gloves) the actual contact sheets and photographs documenting the destruction and delayed/denied renaissance of Washington, DC in 1968 as captured by the photographers of US News and World Report. The entire collection is housed at the Library of Congress (@LibraryCongress) and my visit was a follow-up from what I learned at this year’s DC History conference (@DCHistCon) (More learning about the future, at the Annual Conference on DC History #DCHistcon #dc1968).
Some of the photographs have been scanned with high quality and are available online. The vast majority are not scanned, though, which is what makes the trip special.
What you can see is a city almost without hope immediately after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Photographer Warren Leffler visited the impacted neighborhoods 4 years later on November 6, 1972 and found that little had changed, despite President Nixon’s promise that he would rebuild.
In the mix are a few photographs of Robert Kennedy, and of the signing of the Civil Rights Bill of 1968 + a shot of the DC metro being built, and a curious sequence called “Harried Housewife Preparing Dinner with Convenience Foods” – I’ll post on that separately.
You can access the photos that have been scanned here:
These are the spaces where the future was born, where we are still learning what a city where everyone has what they need looks like (see: Thoughts and photos from the gilded ghetto | Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City, by Derek Hyra )
Enjoy the photos. I’ll be back to look at more 🙂 .