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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Photographing Social Justice: The Work of Diana Jo Davies

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives features the photography of Diana Jo Davies.

The grandchild of union organizers and Debs socialists, Davies is no stranger to activist politics. A prolific photographer and photojournalist during the socially tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, her particular passions have been photographing folk musicians, social justice and peace movements, and theater. Her photographs documenting the civil rights movement are amongst her most moving, and represent the struggle through the eyes of an active participant.

This photograph shows Coretta Scott King on May 1, 1968, a month after the assassination of her husband Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4th. She addresses a rally in Memphis, Tennessee at the start of the Poor People’s Campaign, a multi-cultural, socio-economic movement which culminated in a protest in Washington, D.C. meant to urge lawmakers to pass an “economic bill of rights” dedicated to providing a job, income, and home to every American. In capturing the many faces she marched with demanding racial, social, and economic equality, Davies’ photographs show a diverse, culturally united civil rights movement.

To see more examples of Davies’ photographs of social justice movements, click here.

Learn more about the Diana Davies Photographs here.

Cecilia Peterson, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections


  1. Cecilia, That looks like a really interesting collection. Did you get to work on it?

  2. No--I'm knee-deep in Moses Asch correspondence right now, but Stephanie knows it like the back of her hand! I love looking through the prints, though--it's like looking through a window straight to the 60s.