You’ve Never Seen These Black History Photos Before
SAM FALK/THE NEW YORK TIMES
1964: “Princeton’s two elementary schools were integrated 16 years ago,” The Times reported. “Thus began a three-act racial drama — first, a period of Negro hopes; next, Negro frustration and disillusionment; and then, a limited degree of fulfillment.”
The New York Times is diving into its photo archive this month in search of “unpublished black history.” The archive, known as the Morgue, is a library of photographs and negatives that lives in a subbasement. It’s an unassuming place of whitewashed walls and fluorescent lights. It smells like photo chemicals, sweet and pungent. File cabinets and file boxes sit shoulder to shoulder. But jammed into those file drawers are folders full of history. Among the Morgue’s hidden treasures: thousands of envelopes of negatives, most of which were never published.
We sat down with Darcy Eveleigh, the Times photo editor who uncovered the pictures the newspaper recently published for the first time, and Rachel Swarns, a reporter who dug up some of the stories behind the images
1963: An iconic portrait of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more or less shot from the hip. Allyn Baum snapped this photograph at a taping for a televised round table discussion that aired on NBC. You’d never guess, but Dr. King, looking past the viewer with a gaze for the ages, was seated at a table with four other panelists.