Civil Rights Movement Photography and Its Legacies, with Leigh Raiford

Lecture | February 15 | 12 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

In fall 2010, just as it was announced that a museum would open to celebrate the life and work of famed civil rights movement photographer Ernest C. Withers, revelations surfaced that Withers had worked from at least 1968 to 1970 as a paid FBI informant. The debates that ensued about Withers's guilt or innocence revealed continuing anxieties about black heritage and the legacies and memory of the civil rights movement, on one hand, and about artistic intent and aesthetic value on the other. This talk explores what role photography—as document, as art, and as surveillance—played in the modern civil rights movement and how the medium continues to shape our memories of the "Second Reconstruction."

Leigh Raiford is associate professor of African American studies at UC Berkeley, where she also serves as affiliate faculty in the program in American studies and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies. Raiford is the author of Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle and is coeditor with Renee Romano of The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory.

About Big Ideas

Big Ideas is a UC Berkeley course open to the public. This year’s theme, California Countercultures, is inspired by the BAMPFA exhibition Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia. The course is cotaught by Natasha Boas, independent curator, writer, and critic of contemporary art and theory, and Michael Cohen, associate teaching professor in the African American Studies Department at UC Berkeley, and features local and national activists and artists.

Sponsored by the Big Ideas program, the Mellon Foundation, and the Arts + Design Initiative at UC Berkeley.

event is included with admission

 Free for BAMPFA members, UC Berkeley students, faculty, staff, retirees; 18 & under + guardian | $10 Non-UC Berkeley students, 65+, disabled persons | $12 General admission | Event is included with admission