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Don Hogan Charles, Acclaimed Civil Rights Era Photographer, Dies At 79

Don Hogan Charles, Acclaimed Civil Rights Era Photographer, Dies At 79

Photo Credit: The New York Times

One of the era’s most prolific photographers has passed away.

The first black staff photographer hired at the New York Times, Don Hogan Charles who shot the iconic 1964 photo in Ebony Mag of Malcolm X holding a rifle at his window has passed away.

Former New York Times staff writer Rachel Swarns tweeted the news on Sunday afternoon:

Born in 1938, Charles went on to become one of the Civil Rights Era’s most renowned photographers, documenting the humanity and everyday lives of black people in America.

Swarns linked to an 2016 article on Charles from the Times that chronicled Charles’ noteworthy career:

But in the hundreds of other photographs that he shot, visible in the negatives of our archives, a fuller portrait of the neighborhood and Mr. Charles’s neighbors comes into view. The residents of his Harlem are fully rounded people, not caricatures, symbols or subjects to be studied. He had less than two days to shoot this assignment, but his subjects share a dignity that was often missing from much reporting of the era.

Though The Times was both lauded and vilified for its reporting from the front lines of the civil rights struggles in the South, there were few black journalists in the industry in those years beyond black news outlets. Major news media coverage of New York’s black neighborhoods often resembled overseas “parachute journalism” — a quick visit, conversations with a few residents on the street with a little seasoning from outside experts. In the following decades, many newspapers, including The Times, pushed along by lawsuits, added more black, Latino, Asian and female journalists.

READ: Roger Wilkins, Civil Rights Champion, Dies At 85

Here are a few of Charles’ legendary shots:

 



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