All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Heather McPherson

Advisory Committee Members

Lucy Curzon

Jessica Dallow

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


ABSTRACT This thesis examines the photographs taken during “The Children´s March” on May 3, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. These images of dog attacks and people being sprayed down by water hoses are considered some of the most representative images of the Civil Rights struggle. They were published in national newspapers and magazines and made visible the social injustice suffered by African Americans in Birmingham. Civil Rights photographs have engendered different readings and interpretations over time, and their presence in American history has been a constant from the 1960s up to the present. This thesis analyzes the roles Civil Rights photographs have assumed over time: as photojournalistic documents that reached a national and international audience through mass media; as powerful socio-cultural documents and as artworks in their own right; and as appropriations that survived their immediate photojournalistic purpose by becoming integral elements in other works of art. Focusing on the photographs taken on May 3, 1963, by Charles Moore and Bill Hudson, my thesis tracks their publications and immediate impact and reassesses their broader influence and complex afterlives as works of art. It argues that Civil Rights photographs have become part of the collective memories of Americans that embody history and transcend time. It also examines the changing status of documentary photography and highlights the significance of Civil Rights photographers in the struggle for Civil Rights and in art and history.



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