Thanks for publishing my photographs in this piece on the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the subsequent destruction of our nation’s capital.
The photos are composites of 1968 Washington and 2015 Washington.
At the same time I am showing them here, and understand that these scenes generate a tremendous fascination, I have also been paying attention to the scholarship of people including Marya McQuirter, of the DC 1968 Project (@dc1968project).
I recommend reading this piece that she wrote, to reframe Washington’s 1968, and explain the treatment she’s used for this day:
#otd 4 april #1968 in the evening, after 7:05pm, washingtonians learned than dr. king had been assassinated. where were you or a family member when you heard? how did you hear? what did you do? #dc #dc1968 #mlk #50 @dcpl_literati @dcpl https://t.co/bXEIcegtBH pic.twitter.com/ChJsQIQHaw
For the exhibit, I was particularly concerned with how to visually and textually frame April 4, 1968, the day King was assassinated. I knew that we were not going to include an overused and problematic image showing one of the 10,000-plus mostly white National Guardsmen armed with rifles, gas masks, and tear-gas canisters deployed in the city to contain and control residents after King’s assassination. At the same time, I felt that that no image would sufficiently represent him or that day. Instead, we decided to have a moment of reflection of our collective loss. We chose a slide frame with a black background and white letters that simply stated, “Martin Luther King, Jr. January 15, 1929–April 4, 1968.”
Today, Washington, DC remembers the 50th anniversary of the 1968 civil uprising, which took place between April 4 and 8. Downtown DC, Logan Circle, Capitol Hill, Shaw, and Columbia Heights were at the center of the civic uprisings sparked by anger over Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and longstanding discrimination, becoming an indelible part of the city’s history.