Civil rights

Civil Rights Photographer Publishes Second Jim Crow South Picture Book


Dr. Doris Derby’s “A Civil Rights Journey” shows photographs of significant moments in American history and features candid images of Muhammad Ali, Alice Walker and Fannie Lou Hamer.

Through Allison Joyner

Dr Doris Derby’s latest book, “A journey for civil rights“, uses photographs from his stay in Mississippi from 1963 to 1972 to illustrate the struggle of African Americans in the United States

“It covers ongoing political, educational, economic and artistic activities and initiatives,” Derby said. “[It] covers the people who lived, fought and survived there and find ways to deal with violence and intimidation and develop solutions to get out of the situation segregation has put them in.

Civil rights photographer Doris Derby
Credit: Daniel Fitch.

Former Director of the Office of African American Student Services and Programs at Georgia State University, Derby has published “A Civil Rights Journey,” as a continuation of her first book, “POETAGRAPHY: Artistic Reflections of a Mississippi Lifeline in Words and Pictures: 1963-1972.”

Born in the Bronx, NY, Derby comes from a long line of activists. In addition to her parents who fought to end segregation, Derby’s grandmother and uncle were co-founders of the NAACP in Bangor, Maine. She joined their youth section at the age of 16 and her fight for social justice continued when she became involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee while attending Hunter College in the late 1950s.

Image of the Grand Marie Farmers Cooperative in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1969.
Credit: Doris Derby / Mack.

Seeing footage of violence against peaceful protesters and the March on Washington in 1963 motivated her to accept a position in a new developmental literacy project in Tougaloo College outside of Jackson, miss.

“When I saw everything on the news in Birmingham”, “with the police bringing out the dogs, fire hoses and billy clubs, I decided that [joining the program] It was the least I could do to share my talents in Mississippi for a year, “Derby said.” However, I went for a year and there was so much going on that I decided to stay. new.”

In addition to creating poetry and paintings, Derby has captured over 10,000 photographs. She and the editors selected 110 of these images for display in the book.

A girl living in rural Mississippi in 1968.
Credit: Doris Derby / Mack.

Calling it “a bridge to many other aspects of the civil rights movement,” Derby illustrates the multidimensional facets of how segregation affects people on a daily basis.

Georgia House Representative Julian Bond at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
Credit: Doris Derby / Mack.

“This book is unique,” ​​said Derby. “I wanted to convey the strength of the people involved in the photographs of the images and the variety of people involved. Education, economics, political aid – so many people were trying to register to vote and they risked their lives to do so.

Context is essential for the new Derby book. She stressed that reading her diary entries and captions to the photographs is crucial to understanding all of her work.

“The image is worth 1,000 words,” said Derby, “but the text gives the environment of what happened before – of what happened after – but of what happened during so you earn a lot. “

Derby says his work to tackle inequality in our country is not over and wants younger generations to use their voices to make a difference.

Portrait of the author of “The Color Purple” Alice Walker.
Credit: Doris Derby / Mack.

“Demand more in class… to learn more about the civil rights movement then and now. It never stopped. Derby said: “It’s something that didn’t start in the 60s and ended in the 60s. It’s a continuation. Life is a continuation and we have a lot of struggles to go through.

“A Civil Rights Journey” is on sale now from the publisher of the book Mack and Amazon.