iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (151): Lunch Counter Segregation

Franklin Eugene McCain died two days ago. McCain and three others, now known as the “Greensboro Four,” are credited with initiating the sit-in movement when they sat down at the F. W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960 and requested service.

Franklin McCain, part of Greensboro Four who staged sit-ins at all-white lunch counter

Franklin McCain, part of Greensboro Four who staged sit-ins at all-white lunch counter

Marchers protest denial of service at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Roanoke, 1960

Marchers protest denial of service at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Roanoke, 1960

Read the whole story here. More on segregation. More iconic images of human rights violations.

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iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (148): The Beating of L. Alex Wilson

The Beating of L. Alex Wilson

Little Rock: Reporter L. Alex Wilson being attacked by a mob, September 23, 1957

The Beating of L. Alex Wilson 2

This happened

three weeks after Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus abruptly derailed school desegregation in September 1957. Confident that the Negroes would be kept out by the cordon of Arkansas National Guardsmen surrounding the school, crowds of angry whites—many having no connection to the school or to Little Rock—arrived every morning to demonstrate their disapproval of integration. They watched white students enter the school and kept a watchful eye to make sure black students, though backed by a federal court order allowing them in, didn’t try to sneak in. White reporters and cameramen faced relentless heckling, physical taunts and spittle. Black reporters faced worse. The story had drawn many of the most experienced journalists in the black press, reporters who had braved the back roads of the South and pioneered civil rights coverage long before it caught on with the mainstream white press. But as they tried to penetrate the scene around the high school, they met scorn and stonewalling as National Guardsmen quickly moved them off the premises and away from the story.

On the warm Monday morning of Sept. 23, the integration stalemate broke and the story changed. The National Guard, following a federal court edict, had withdrawn. The white crowds stayed, however, leaving the school’s grounds and perimeter beyond the control of authorities. Black students on their way to the school in a station wagon were heading into an unpredictable mob scene.

At the same time, in a separate car, intent on witnessing and covering the moment firsthand, were four seasoned black newsmen. Their leader was the tall, dark-skinned and serious L. Alex Wilson, the editor and general manager of the Tri-State Defender of Memphis, Tennessee—the newspaper that was the southern outpost of the Chicago Defender, one of the foremost black newspapers in the United States. (Continue reading).

More on segregation and on Little Rock. More iconic photos.

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discrimination, human rights images, photography and journalism, racism

Segregation in the U.S., A Collection of Images

I’ll never be able to understand how this scene could have been horrifying to anyone:

The first day of desegregation, on Sept. 8, 1954, at Fort Myer Elementary School in Fort Myer, Va. I'll never be able to understand how this scene could be horrifying to anyone.

The first day of desegregation, on Sept. 8, 1954, at Fort Myer Elementary School in Fort Myer, Va.

And this image shows the absurdness of segregation:

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Is this de facto segregation? I couldn’t find anything about the context of the photo:

Students sit during a study session at a Mississippi junior high school Jan. 8, 1970.

Students sit during a study session at a Mississippi junior high school Jan. 8, 1970.

And this is just one of the sexiest images ever:

A young black woman, soaked by a fireman’s hose as an anti-segregation march is broken up by police, in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 8, 1963. In the background is a police riot wagon.

A young black woman, soaked by a fireman’s hose as an anti-segregation march is broken up by police, in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 8, 1963. In the background is a police riot wagon.

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If you look carefully at the top left of this image, you’ll see a fellow who doesn’t know his place:

Segregated seating at the Orange Bowl, Miami, 1955

Segregated seating at the Orange Bowl, Miami, 1955

More images on segregation are here. More on segregation in general is here.

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most absurd human rights violations

The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (117): Segregation of HIV-Positive Prisoners

prison rape

(source)

South-Carolina is now the only US State where HIV-positive prisoners are segregated in separate housing units with unequal program opportunities, inferior mental health care and fewer work options.

There’s absolutely no reason to do that, unless you want to maintain the reign of sexual terror that is still widespread in US prisons. AIDS is almost exclusively transmitted by way of sexual intercourse and needles. Segregating HIV-positive prisoners makes it easier for prison rapists to pursue their hobby. If you don’t know who’s positive and who’s not, you’ll think twice about raping someone. In the “HIV wards”, since they contain only HIV-positive prisoners, there’s also no more reason to refrain from rape.

Things like this make it hard to believe that legislators and prison authorities are not intent on making prison as horrible as possible.

More absurd human rights violations.

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human rights nonsense

Human Rights Nonsense (40): Gun Owner Segregation

no guns

(source)

The University of Colorado caved to the gun lobby and created gun-friendly dorms. At the present, there are floors that are gun-friendly. A dorm for the armed is opening in 2014. But the school is disturbed that not a single person has actually expressed any interest in living in the gun zone. Is it because even students who own guns think it might not be an awesome idea to be around drunken armed college students? Nope. It’s liberal segregation:

David Burnett, a representative of Students for Concealed Carry on campus, told the Denver Post that students who met all legal requirements for concealed-carry shouldn’t have to move into segregated dorms. “You’ve proven you’re legally, responsibly and morally able to carry, then the college comes back and tells you you’ve got to move. What would you do?” (source)

More about gun rights, and more about (real) segregation. Someone else who thinks he’s the new Rosa Parks. More human rights nonsense.

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iconic images of human rights violations

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (75): Freedom Riders

freedom riders

1961, Freedom Riders Julia Aaron and David Dennis sit aboard an interstate bus as they and 25 other civil rights activists are escorted by Mississippi National Guardsmen on a violence-marred trip between Montgomery, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi. Originally published in the June 2, 1961, issue of LIFE – Photo by Paul Schutzer

(source)

Freedom Riders

were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to test the United States Supreme Court decisions Boynton v. Virginia (1960) and Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946).  …

Boynton outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines. Five years prior to the Boynton ruling, the Interstate Commerce Commission had issued a ruling in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company that had explicitly denounced the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine of separate but equal in interstate bus travel. The ICC failed to enforce its ruling, and Jim Crow travel laws remained in force throughout the South.

The Freedom Riders challenged this status quo by riding various forms of public transportation in the South to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation. The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement. They called national attention to the disregard for the federal law and the local violence used to enforce segregation in the southern United States. Police arrested riders for trespassing, unlawful assembly, and violating state and local Jim Crow laws, along with other alleged offenses, but they often let white mobs attack them without intervention. (source)

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, 1961

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, 1961. Joan, a 19 year old Freedom Rider, was sentenced to two months in prison for her involvement in the integration of a Jackson, Mississippi bound train. She served more than the required two months because each addition day reduced her $200 fine by $3. In the Fall of 1961, Joan transferred from Duke University to historically black Tougaloo Southern Christian College because she felt integration should be a two way street. Today Joan is a retired teacher.

More on Jim Crow and segregation. More iconic images of human rights violations.

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discrimination and hate, equality, iconic images of human rights violations

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (72): Dorothy Counts and School Desegregation

Dorothy Counts, one of the first black students to enter the newly desegregated Harry Harding High School is mocked by whites on her first day of school

Dorothy Counts, one of the first black students to enter the newly desegregated Harry Harding High School is mocked by whites on her first day of school, photo by Douglas Martin

(source)

Dorothy Counts, one of the first black students to enter the newly desegregated Harry Harding High School is mocked by whites on her first day of school

(source)

At 15 years of age, on September 1957, Dorothy Counts

was one of the first black students admitted to the Harry Harding High School, in Charlotte, North Carolina. After four days of harassment that threatened her safety, her parents forced her to withdraw from the school. …

The harassment started when the wife of John Z. Warlick, the leader of the White Citizens Council, urged the boys to “keep her out” and at the same time, implored the girls to spit on her, saying, “spit on her, girls, spit on her.” Dorothy walked by without reacting, but told the press that many people threw rocks at her—most of which landed in front of her feet—and that many spat on her back. More abuse followed that day. She had trash thrown at her while eating her dinner and the teachers ignored her. The following day, she befriended two white girls, but they soon drew back because of harassment from other classmates. Her family received threatening phone calls. (source)

A similar case is this one. More on segregation here. More iconic images of human rights violations here.

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equality, housing, poverty, racism

Racism (24): What’s Wrong With Residential Segregation?

lets-clean-up-the-ghetto-cover

(source)

Residential segregation can be the outcome of racial animus or racial prejudice, for example when whites decide that they don’t want to live near blacks for no other reason than race. In that case, segregation is a symptom of racism and is evidently wrong. What to do about it is less clear: forcing people to live somewhere is also wrong.

But residential segregation can also result from less prejudiced motives, sometimes even from rational ones: whites may be relatively wealthy and therefore decide that they prefer to live in a nice suburb. Automatically, they end up together with other whites. (Perhaps the wealth disparity has something to do with racism, but not the segregation itself). Yet, even in that case, segregation has harmful consequences and we will have to do something about it.

Residential segregation is harmful in several ways. When relatively wealthy whites move en masse to the suburbs, the relatively poor blacks who stay in the inner cities find themselves in an increasingly impoverished area. Shops will disappear; house prices will fall and will put pressure on people’s assets, etc. The reduced tax base will make it harder for the local government to fund high quality public goods. As a result, the quality of education and other public services will drop, which will start a vicious circle of poverty.

Physical segregation of races will reduce self-esteem and self-confidence among the members of the group that is worse off after segregation. It may also foster racial animus against those who are better off. And, finally, so-called membership poverty will kick in. People will see a reduction in the number of role models, and the remaining role models will by definition be relatively poor and hence not always the ones providing the most beneficial inspiration. Criminal role models also become more prominent, as the simple arithmetical result of the disappearance of the middle class. Furthermore, when people witness high rates of failure among group members, this will also negatively affect their aspirations and effort, which in turn will make a negative economic logic take root: for example, when few group members start businesses, few other members will have the opportunity to work for them or trade with them.

However, residential segregation is not entirely negative for the poor minorities remaining in the inner cities. As house prices in the cities fall, relatively poor blacks are more likely to become homeowners. However, that’s a small silver lining to an enormous black cloud.

By the way, some numbers are here, here and here. More on segregation here.

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