In the early 1960's the scenery was set up for a revolutionary movement opened by the Civil Rights Movement that would shatter the U.S in the 1960's.
The media coverage of the Civil Rights Movement was part of a large-scale cultural and social revolution, which called into question the traditional picture of American society. One may wonder to what extent the Civil Rights Movement opened the path for a three-level redefinition of the American identities: first, within the Black movement itself, through its relation to the Government, secondly from the public side itself toward the movement, and finally from nation as a whole.
In order to stigmatise the relation between the media and the development of the Civil Rights Movement, let us focus our analysis on a couple of photographs, taken during the summer of 1963.
[...] The camera was seen as an indiscreet or even harmful intrusion into the homogeneity of the movement. One the other hand, the main leaders of the movement, such as King, saw in TV and newspapers a significant weapon to attract people's attention and to awaken political awareness. Images could be used to tell a story and conveyed the moral dimension of a parable. King was an outstanding orator. His physical and moral charisma conferred a special power to the Civil Rights Movement. [...]
[...] This picture of the present and supreme event was only the subjective construction of a ruling order. Paradoxically, pictures were the most available tools to assert the national consensus and introduce a standardised culture and opinions. Photojournalism could construct events and thereby influence the interpretation of past and future. BIBLIOGRAPHY Becker Howard S,Visual Sociology, Documentary Photography, and Photojournalism Davidson/ Lytle, After the fact 4th edition. Foner Eric, A Story of American Freedom Gitthin Todd, The Sixties, Years of Hope, Days of Rage. [...]
[...] The camera was the only means of distantiation to deal with this horrible reality. It may be argued that some people used these pictures unconsciously to fulfil the society's needs, a need to see what suffering is and a need to become aware of their privileged position. Americans could therefore enjoy their own safety, whereas they could deplore the barbarity perpetrated in Vietnam. It was a way to erase their guilty conscience without actually taking measures. At the same time, these pictures trivialised violence. [...]
[...] Consequently, a few weeks later, Martin Luther King, symbolically encouraged the crowd to march on Washington to protest against the violence. The March on Washington embodied for several reasons the attitude developed and advocated by King. First, the idea of proclaimed on the signs is directly echoes the Biblical image of Moses marching through the desert to free his people. It reminds that the Black church is the origin of the organisation. Similarly, King marched to free his people from the yoke of Black Segrationism. [...]
[...] The words “Jobs and Freedom”, written in large letters grasp the attention of the observer, and then resonates as a strange and obsessing slogan. But at a second sight, one notices the source of this claim that is UAW, and its goal, that is “every American”. In the background other claims emerge from the crowd: one can distinguish: “first class citizenship”, integrated schools”, “jobs for all a decent pay”. All these claims are strikingly preceded by a clear motive: march and is then systematically punctuated by the violent and eloquent It seems that the second document can highlight the meaning of the first one. [...]
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