Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography

Front Cover
University of California Press, May 2, 2011 - Photography - 264 pages
Seeing through Race is a boldly original reinterpretation of the iconic photographs of the black civil rights struggle. Martin A. Berger’s provocative and groundbreaking study shows how the very pictures credited with arousing white sympathy, and thereby paving the way for civil rights legislation, actually limited the scope of racial reform in the 1960s. Berger analyzes many of these famous images—dogs and fire hoses turned against peaceful black marchers in Birmingham, tear gas and clubs wielded against voting-rights marchers in Selma—and argues that because white sympathy was dependent on photographs of powerless blacks, these unforgettable pictures undermined efforts to enact—or even imagine—reforms that threatened to upend the racial balance of power.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Martin A. Berger is Professor and Director of the Visual Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded Age Manhood and Sight Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture, both from UC Press. David J. Garrow is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Bibliographic information