312 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 58 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle
In Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare, Leigh Raiford argues that over the past one hundred years, activists in the black freedom struggle have used photographic imagery both to gain political recognition and to develop a different visual vocabulary about black lives. Offering readings of the use of photography in the anti-lynching movement, the civil rights movement, and the black power movement, Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare focuses on key transformations in technology, society, and politics to understand the evolution of photography's deployment in capturing white oppression, black resistance, and African American life.
"Examines the role photography played in three social movements--anti-lynching, civil rights and black power. . . . by, for example, challenging demeaning representations of black Americans as ignorant or unfit for citizenship."
--The Chronicle of Higher Education
“This is a sophisticated study, well above the useful level for public libraries….It is a compelling work unlike anything else presently offered in the field’s scholarship.”
"[Raiford] convincingly shows that framing the movement through photography was as important and effective as boycotts, marches, and sit-ins in waging the struggle against white supremacy."
--Journal of Southern History
"This beautifully written text will significantly shape how we can and will understand the visual culture of social movements in the United States. Raiford's scholarship is excellent."
--Shawn Michelle Smith, author of Photography on the Color Line: W. E. B. Du Bois, Race, and Visual Culture
"Scholars and students of mass media and of black portraiture in popular culture would be well advised to mine this outstanding book's insights and techniques before proceeding with their own projects. Raiford's work is at the cutting edge of black cultural studies writing."
--William L. Van Deburg, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Leigh Raiford's brilliant and pathbreaking book teaches readers how to look at photographs and how to watch them at work. We learn this from the leaders of the African American freedom struggle itself, as Raiford follows a century of debates about how best to harness photography to the making and remembering of history. Not only is this a vibrant and important story, it is also a vital contemporary analysis, as the space in which all politics takes place increasingly moves toward the 'luminous glare' of mediated images."
--Laura Wexler, Yale University
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