Mine Eyes Have Seen
Photographs of the Struggle for Human Rights
Adelman captured defining moments that reshaped modern American history.
Curated by James Cavello
WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC presented an historic collection of photographs representing the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s by award winning photographer, Bob Adelman. In honor of Martin Luther King's birthday (January 15th) and Black History Month (February) the gallery highlighted significant photos representing a time in U.S. history, 45 years ago. On exhibit were fifty-five photographs including iconic portraits of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and images of civil and social unrest in the streets of New York, Washington D.C. and the deep South. At the time, Bob Adelman, who graduated with a law degree from Harvard, was drawn to photography with the same passion he had for justice and his study of philosophy. He captured moments that re-shaped modern American history. He photographed not only the marchers, riots and speeches, but also the fabric of everyday life in rural communities, ghettos and social gatherings. Adelman traveled to cities and documented achievements big and small within the black community, including successful musicians, sports figures, educators, even the first African-American sheriff elected under the Voting Rights Act in Alabama in 1979. As a photographer, Adelman has made extraordinary contributions to our visual history, considering the extent he traversed to chronicle events, photographic essays and distinct individuals.
The exhibition at WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC was the first time this body of work was shown in a solo gallery exhibition in the 50 year history of the photographer. On April 4, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the death of Dr. King, actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee read from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" speech.
The exhibition of silver gelatin photographs paralleled the release of the book entitled, Mine Eyes Have Seen, Bearing Witness to the Struggle for Civil Rights, photographs by Bob Adelman, essays by Charles Johnson, published by LIFE Great Photographer Series / Time, Inc. Home Entertainment.
Actress and civil rights advocate Ruby Dee read from Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech during the exhibition.
About the Photographer
An internationally recognized photojournalist, Bob Adelman covered social and political issues for LIFE, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, TIME, Esquire, Vanity Fair, London's Sunday Times Magazine, Paris Match and numerous other publications. He is a Guggenheim fellow and grant recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts. He began his work by volunteering his services as a photographer for the Congress of Racial Equity (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He has written, photographed and produced books on the arts, literature, film, photography, civil rights, social culture and politics, including Carver Country, The World of Raymond Carver, Down Home, chronicled life in rural Camden, Alabama, The Art of Roy Lichtenstein, Visions of Liberty: The Bill of Rights for All Americans, The Photobiography of Martin Luther King, Gentleman of Leisure, Ladies of the Night, Brancusi Photographs and many other published books.
Bob Adelman was the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship; the National Endowment for the Arts Grant; Art Director's Club Awards New York, Washington, San Francisco; American Institute of Graphic Arts 50 Books Awards; University of Missouri School of Journalism Award. He taught photography at the International Center for Photography, The New School, School of Visual Arts. Lectured at Columbia University, Stanford University, Union College, Philadelphia College of Art, University of Minnesota, Miami University, Ohio State University, Steamboat Falls Workshop, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Selected museum exhibits include the Smithsonian, House, American Federation of the Arts, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, The Boca Raton Museum of Art. His photographs are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Museum, The Hallmark Collection as well as numerous private collections worldwide.
Photographs © Bob Adelman
MINE EYES HAVE SEEN - INSTALLATION VIEWS