Picks and Pans Review: Powerful Days
Set aside for a moment the problems that remain. This book of photographs of the civil rights movement from 1958 to 1965 is a testament to how much has changed.
Moore, a white Hackleburg, Ala., native, began working as a Montgomery newspaper photographer and got caught up in events he recorded so vividly that LIFE magazine often assigned him to cover civil rights stories. His photos from the era document one frightening confrontation after another, from a white man in Montgomery cocking a baseball bat to club a black woman to Martin Luther King Jr. being manhandled at a Montgomery courthouse.
After photographing his way through such stories as James Meredith's matriculation at the University of Mississippi, the brutality of Birmingham police chief Eugene "Bull" Connor and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965, Moore was burned out. "I had seen so much violence," he says in the text by Michael S. Durham accompanying his pictures, "and I had been involved in so much ugliness, and I realized that I needed to do something else."
He has spent most of the last 25 years as a free-lancer based in Southeast Asia, but it's a safe bet he has never taken any pictures more consequential than these—crucial evidence of what was happening at the time, historical documents now.
Says Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young in his introduction to the book: "There are many more battles in which to engage as we approach a new century. All of us must hope and pray that the lessons learned and the lives lost during the first years of the movement will be remembered and honored to infinity." (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, paper, $24.95)