With a preface by Deborah Willis
The history of the civil rights movement is commonly illustrated with well-known photographs from Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma—leaving the visual story of the movement outside the South remaining to be told. In North of Dixie, historian Mark Speltz shines a light past the most iconic photographs of the era to focus on images of everyday activists who fought campaigns against segregation, police brutality, and job discrimination in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and many other cities.
With images by photojournalists, artists, and activists, including Bob Adelman Charles Brittin, Diana Davies, Leonard Freed, Gordon Parks, and Art Shay, North of Dixie offers a broader and more complex view of the American civil rights movement than is usually presented by the media. North of Dixie also considers the camera as a tool that served both those in support of the movement and against it. Photographs inspired activists, galvanized public support, and implored local and national politicians to act, but they also provided means of surveillance and repression that were used against movement participants. North of Dixie brings to light numerous lesser-known images and illuminates the story of the civil rights movement in the American North and West.
Mark Speltz is an author and historian who writes about civil rights photography, vernacular architecture, and Wisconsin culture and history. He is currently a senior historian at American Girl in Madison, Wisconsin. Deborah Willis is chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur fellowships and was named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” by American Photography magazine.
“A much-welcome corrective to standard histories, as well as journalistic coverage at the time, which focused on Jim Crow segregation in the South, especially as captured in some historic, disturbing and indelible images of the day.”
"As the overwhelming negative issues of race persist in tearing away at the soul of our nation, America needs to be more enlightened on the history of this subject and how it continues to demand resolve morally and politically. As Dr. King often said, 'If the issue of race is not squarely debated and favorably brought to closure this nation will not survive.' North of Dixie makes this tragic story of our nation worthy of our attention. It helps us understand the ways in which this tragedy can be addressed. This opportunity should not be missed."
–New York Times
—Harry Belafonte, singer, actor, and social activist
“North of Dixie is a stunning compilation of photos, combining images of strength and reserve evident in activists in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles with images of the backlash they faced.”
“The imagery in [Speltz’s] book, North of Dixie: Civil Rights beyond the South (available in November), captures the essence of the violent climate toward grassroots activists and civilians alike who participated in peaceful protests.
“This compendium demonstrates how many midcentury civil rights struggles were waged far above the Mason-Dixon line. With requisite coverage of famed leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, the survey also reveals hundreds of unknown activists and unsung heroes from myriad walks of life, united in a courageous struggle for social change, dignity, and survival.”
—American Photo, The Best Photography Books of the Year: 2016
“Powerful and compelling.”
“A hard-hitting photographic look at the fight for civil rights.”—On Milwaukee
“A seminal visual history of the movement between 1938 and 1975, documenting the battles that took place in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and many other cities north of the Mason-Dixon Line.”
“With over one hundred images, many never before published, North of Dixie offers a complex and inclusive view of the civil rights era in America.”
—African American Intellectual History Society
8 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum