Recently I read an article called “50 Years ago In Photos: A Look Back At 1968” and it was quite the eye opener. I enjoyed this article immensely and I know this is partially due to the use of photos as a way of storytelling. Without this article I know I would not have realized just how historically important the year 1968 really is. 1968 is the year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and former senator Robert F Kennedy were assassinated. It was also the year NASA first sent astronauts around the moon and back and the year the “Civil Rights Act” was passed by President Lyndon Johnson. During this time there were lots of riots and protests for basic human rights and things we take for granted today but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. I mean just look at all the protest and riots going on recently, all of this just alludes to the fact that history really does repeat itself.
There were many photos and events I found thought-provoking, one primary example was an aerial view photo of buildings burning in Washington D.C. What struck me about this photo was that these fires were intentional, created by rioters after finding out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. My first thought was one of concern, I mean people could have gotten hurt or killed, and can you imagine the amount of chaos following this?
Another image that captivated me was one of The Supremes performing in Munich, West Germany. This picture struck me as odd especially since the caption included the line “The American trio was backed by the West German Rolf Hans Mueller big band and was celebrated with thundering applause.” It was thrilling to see a group of African American artists with international fame and adoration during a time fueled by racial discrimination and division. I recommend everyone to read this article, you will be shocked by what you learn.