Birmingham Civil Rights-Era Photos Uncovered





Previously unpublished photographs from the civil rights era were discovered in an equipment closet at the Birmingham News and appeared for the first time Sunday in a special section of the newspaper.

The cardboard box with thousands of negatives, marked "Keep. Do Not Sell," was discovered in November 2004 by a photo intern, Alexander Cohn, who went through the files and interviewed people in the pictures to help produce the eight-page section, "Unseen. Unforgotten."

More than 30 photos appear in the print version, with dozens more available on the newspaper's Web site at http://www.al.com/unseen , and the paper recounts its own struggle to cover the civil rights movement in a city and state dominated by segregationist politics.

News photographers from the period said the paper did not want to draw attention to the demonstrations and discord in the 1950s and 1960s.

"It was difficult for people to see," Horace Huntley, director of oral history at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the paper. "People were embarrassed by it. The city fathers were embarrassed by it."



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