An elegantly dressed African-American woman kneels in the middle of a road, her knees protected by a sheet of cardboard. She is blocking dump trucks, an act of civil disobedience to protest unfair hiring practices at a hospital construction site.
The 1963 image by Bob Adelman appears to be a typical civil rights photograph. But it is not. The solitary woman’s act of defiance was far from the Deep South: It took place at Brooklyn’s Downstate Medical Center.
The picture appears in a new book by the historian Mark Speltz, “North of Dixie: Civil Rights Photography Beyond the South” (J. Paul Getty Museum), which provides a more expansive view of the civil rights movement, both geographically and culturally. It is 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.
2) A woman blocking dump trucks, slowing construction through civil disobedience as part of a protracted battle against unfair hiring practices at the Downstate Medical Center. Brooklyn. 1963. BOB ADELMAN
3) Protesters demonstrating against racial discrimination at the White City Roller Rink, 63rd and South Parkway (later King Drive). Chicago. 1946. GOLDMAN AND PARRISH, VIA CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
4) The Non-Violent Action Committee conducting a shop-in at a grocery store to protest hiring discrimination at Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakeries. Los Angeles. Circa 1964.BRUCE HARTFORD