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Charles Moore

Mississippi, 1962.

After a long night of violence and death during riots at the University of Mississippi, photographer Charles Moore is surrounded by empty tear gas canisters. This photo was taken by Life reporter Bob Fellows, who was Moore's partner in covering the desegregation of Ole Miss by James Meredith.
About Charles Moore

Charles Moore didn't plan to photograph the civil rights movement. In September, 1958, he was a 27-year-old photographer for the Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser. When an argument broke out between the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and two policemen, Moore was the only photographer on the scene. His striking pictures of Dr. King's arrest were distributed nationwide by the Associated Press, and one was published in Life magazine. A new career had begun.

Over the next seven years, Moore made some of the most significant pictures of the civil rights movement. As a contract photographer for Life magazine, Moore traveled the South to cover the evolving struggle. His photographs helped bring the reality of the situation to the magazine's huge audience, which at the time comprised over half the adults in the United States. According to former U.S. Senator Jacob Javits, Moore's pictures "helped to spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Some of the major events that Moore covered: the early efforts of Dr. King to desegregate Montgomery, Alabama (1958-60); the violent reaction to the enrollment of James Meredith as the first black student at the University of Mississippi (1962); the Freedom March from Tennessee to Mississippi (1963); the campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama (1963); voter registration drives in Mississippi (1963-1964); Ku Klux Klan activities in North Carolina (1965); and the march from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama (1965). Pictures from each of these events are included on this site.

Moore also photographed the civil war in the Dominican Republic, political violence in Venezuela and Haiti, and the Vietnam conflict. His editorial and travel photography has appeared in major magazines in the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America. Moore has received many awards for corporate/industrial photography, as well as travel and calendar work. He is well-known for location photography of celebrities, including actors, dancers, and musicians.

In 1989, Charles Moore received the first Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism. With Kodak's support, Moore has lectured and presented his work at universities and photography workshops around the country. His work has been exhibited at many museums and other institutions. Moore is represented by the New York photo agency Black Star; his art prints are sold through the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City. All of Moore's black-and-white photographs are made on 35-mm Kodak Tri-X Pan film.

The accompanying photos, and many more, appear in Powerful Days, The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1991). A new edition of The Motherlode, Moore's book about California's gold-rush country, will be published by Chronicle Books this Spring. Charles Moore now lives in Shelburne Falls, Mass.