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Bob Adelman, I Am a Man Strike, Memphis, Tennessee, 1968.

Library of Congress Acquires Civil Rights Photographer Bob Adelman’s Massive Archive

Allison Meier of Hyperallergic reports that the Library of Congress has acquired civil rights photographer Bob Adelman’s archive of 575,000 photographs, negatives, and slides. The collection was gifted to the library by an anonymous donor.

Adelman was born in 1930 and grew up on Long Island. He started taking pictures after studying law at Harvard and earning a masters degree in philosophy at Columbia University. He received a great deal of his training while working under Alexey Brodovitch, the famed art director of Harper’s Bazaar. He then volunteered his services as a photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality, an African American civil rights organization founded in Chicago in 1942.

Among the notable images from the Adelman trove are pictures from the first women’s liberation march in New York in 1970 and a photograph of Reverend Joseph Carter on his porch, in silhouette and brandishing a gun, wondering if the KKK would come to his home and attack him after he registered to vote in Louisiana’s West Feliciana Parish—the first black person in sixty years to do so. “I realized that my involvement [in documenting the civil rights movement] would be very dangerous, but I had a long think with myself and decided that this was something worth risking your life for,” Adelman said to the New York Times in 2014.

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