The 1964 New York’s World Fair. (Photo: Vincent Marchese via The New York Times)
The 1964 New York’s World Fair. (Photo: Vincent Marchese via The New York Times)
Colin Powell did selfies before they were cool. (via NBC News)
Gawker unearths the original New York Times article on the plight of Solomon Northrup, born free in New York then kidnapped into slavery down South, and whose story is told in 12 Years A Slave.
This document, drafted by the Montgomery Improvement Association, advised victorious bus boycotters on best practices for riding the newly integrated city bus system.
When the document was distributed on Dec. 19, 1956, the bus boycott had been going on for nearly 12 months. The MIA, headed by Martin Luther King, Jr., coordinated the boycott throughout.
As what had initially been a short-term campaign of a few days stretched into weeks and months, the MIA organized carpools and weathered bombings and legal challenges. African-American citizens walked miles to work, and marched in protest.
In June 1956, a federal district court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional; the Supreme Court affirmed the ruling in November 1956. The MIA waited until December to declare an end to the boycott, wanting to make sure that the ruling would be carried out in Montgomery. Dr. King signaled the official end of the boycott by boarding an integrated bus on Dec. 21, 1956.
It’s mid-spring, 1961. In the kitchen of a safe house in Montgomery, Ala., Martin Luther King Jr. is tense. In the house with the 32-year-old civil rights leader are 17 students — fresh-faced college kids who, moved by King’s message of racial equality, are literally putting their lives at risk.
These are the groundbreaking practitioners of nonviolent civil disobedience known as the Freedom Riders, and over the past two harrowing weeks, as they’ve traveled across the state on integrated buses, their numbers have diminished at every stop in the face of arrests, mob beatings — even fire-bombings.
Right there along with the riders, capturing the mood of the movement as it swung between exhilarated and exhausted, thrilled and terrified, was 26-year-old LIFE photographer Paul Schutzer, who covered the landmark Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom march and rally in Washington, D.C., four years earlier and witnessed firsthand the courage and determination Dr. King inspired in his followers. (Filed along with Schutzer’s Pilgrimage photos in LIFE’s archives are notes from the magazine’s Washington bureau chief, Henry Suydam Jr., citing the energy and excitement swirling around King even then: “At the end of the ceremonies, a couple of hundred people pressed feverishly on Reverend King — seeking pictures, autographs, handshakes, or just a close look. The jam got so heavy that he had to be escorted to safety by police.”)
(Photos: Paul Schutzer / LIFE)
(via the Mail & Guardian / Johannesburg, South Africa)
"Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world."
(Photo: Greg Bartley / Caemra Press via Redux / The New York Times)
Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday. He was 95.
The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death.
Mr. Mandela had long declared he wanted a quiet exit, but the time he spent in a Pretoria hospital in recent months was a clamor of quarreling family, hungry news media, spotlight-seeking politicians and a national outpouring of affection and loss. The vigil even eclipsed a recent visit by President Obama, who paid homage to Mr. Mandela but decided not to intrude on the privacy of a dying man he considered his hero.
Mr. Mandela will be buried, according to his wishes, in the village of Qunu, where he grew up. The exhumed remains of three of his children were reinterred there in early July under a court order, resolving a family squabble that had played out in the news media.
Mr. Mandela’s quest for freedom took him from the court of tribal royalty to the liberation underground to a prison rock quarry to the presidential suite of Africa’s richest country. And then, when his first term of office was up, unlike so many of the successful revolutionaries he regarded as kindred spirits, he declined a second term and cheerfully handed over power to an elected successor, the country still gnawed by crime, poverty, corruption and disease but a democracy, respected in the world and remarkably at peace.
The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.
The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to the inauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.
And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites against their fears of vengeance.
The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.
When the question was put to Mr. Mandela in an interview for this obituary in 2007 — after such barbarous torment, how do you keep hatred in check? — his answer was almost dismissive: Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.”
– The New York Times, "Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95"
Fifty years is a relative blip on the grand timeline, barely a rounding error between your genesis point and the end of life as we know it. Yet in human terms, 50 years is longer than many life spans, past and present.
In Dallas terms, 50 years is five decades of exploration, examination and grinding introspection about what happened, and why, on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza.
John F. Kennedy’s slaying was a seminal event in our city’s history, encapsulating too much that came before and influencing much that would follow, and here we are. We have considered it, studied it, reflected and grieved.
It’s tempting to acquiesce after all these years, to step away from the pain and sadness and horror of a president’s murder on our streets, and say, finally: “Enough. We are past that now.”
That many of us have obsessed about this single moment for so long says something. Dallas today bears little resemblance to 1963 Dallas. Divisions and demarcations, fading away by the decade, were stark. Today’s politics may have troubling elements, but they are a shallow dive compared with the dangerous extremism then.
“City of Hate” was not meant as an irony. It wasn’t an entire city, far from it, but certainly a part. With 50 years of hindsight, calling Dallas the city that killed Kennedy was neither fair nor accurate, given the lack of evidence that anyone other than a troubled loner was involved. Yet the allegation wasn’t that Dallas pulled the trigger, necessarily, but whether such a heinous crime could have happened anywhere else.
In truth, few 1963 U.S. cities would bear up well under scrutiny from 2013 eyes. America changed, and Dallas changed with it — more than many cities, perhaps, because it had a longer way to go. On balance, this has been a positive drawn from our introspection.
Another is the openness of our rumination. The events today in Dealey Plaza, remembering the 50th anniversary of a president’s death, are years in the making. City leaders, elected and unelected, have weighed competing priorities to find an appropriate ceremony that, importantly, strikes the right tone.
Despite what some outsiders might argue, Dallas has not shied away from hard questions. This, too, says something important about our city, even if fewer than 10 percent of its residents today were here on Nov. 22, 1963. This story, this event, belongs to all of us.
Which is why Dallas will resist the temptation to simply move beyond this moment, if that means shoving it onto some forgotten bookshelf.
A president was killed here for reasons that died with his killer. It does us no good to pretend this didn’t happen 50 years ago. From this terrible day and all the ones that follow, we will keep learning about ourselves and our city.”
– Editorial in the Dallas Morning News, "November 22, 1963 — A Date Dallas Will Never Truly Get Beyond"
America reacts to the death of a President. (Photos from top: Carl Mydans / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images; Woman in New York City by Stan Wayman / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images; Passers-by watch TV reports in Tucson via the Arizona Daily Star; students listening to the news over a loudspeaker at a school in Virginia Beach via the Virginian-Pilot; watching TV coverage of the funeral in Grand Central Terminal by Frank Castoral / New York Daily News)
“We just have a report from our correspondent Dan Rather in Dallas that he has confirmed that President Kennedy is dead. …From Dallas, Texas, the flash — apparently official — President Kennedy died at one P.M. Central Standard Time, two o’clock Eastern Standard Time, some 38 minutes ago.”
May 29, 1917 - Nov. 22, 1963