Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

The Williams Center for the Arts gallery will showcase pictures from Bruce Davidson’s 2002 book, Time of Change, Civil Rights Photographs 1961-1965, in an exhibition running Feb. 4-March 22.

One of the leading documentary photographers of the last century, Davidson will give a lecture 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Oechsle Hall auditorium. A reception and book signing will follow the talk. The event is free and open to the public.

Davidson joined a busload of Freedom Riders in 1961 and spent the next four years chronicling the Civil Rights Movement.

“Here are the freedom rides, marches, voter registration campaigns, and police violence, and here are scenes of the realities that provoked those actions — everyday black life, North and South, from dire poverty to tenuous middle-class status,” observes Ray Olson of Booklist. “This is what courage and nobility look like, and this other is what bigotry and xenophobia look like.”

The exhibition is organized into five sections: New York City 1961-1965; Chicago 1962; The South – Farm Migrant, Cotton, Cabins, a Schoolhouse – 1961-1965; Freedom Ride 1961, Mississippi Freedom March, Birmingham Demonstrations, March on Washington 1963, Voter Registration, Viola Liuzzo Crime Scene, Selma March 1965; and Mother Brown 1962, born 1852.

Davidson’s interest in photography began at age 10. In 1949, he won his first prize in the Kodak National High School Competition. He went on to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology and Yale University. After military service in 1957 he worked as a photographer for LIFE magazine and in 1958 he became a member of Magnum Photos, the renowned international cooperative photo agency. From 1958-1961 he created major bodies of work, including Brooklyn Gang, which depicts the isolation, tension, and vitality of groups of New York teenagers.

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 to photograph what became a four-year documentation of the Civil Rights Movement. This work included images from an early Malcolm X rally in Harlem, steel workers in Chicago, Klu Klux Klan cross burnings, migrant farm camps in South Carolina, cotton pickers in Georgia, and the protest marches and demonstrations in Birmingham and Selma, Ala. In 1963 the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented his work in a one-man show that included, among others, these historically important images.

In 1966 Davidson was awarded the first grant for photography from the National Endowment for the Arts and spent two years documenting one block in East Harlem. This work was published by Harvard University Press in 1970 under the title East 100th Street. The work became an exhibition that year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. An expanded new edition of East 100th Street was published in 2003 by St. Ann’s Press.

Other volumes of his photographs include Bruce Davidson Photographs (1978), Central Park (1995), Brooklyn Gang (1998), and Portraits (1999). Subway (1986), a series of color images about the New York subways, has recently been reprinted with 42 previously unseen photographs by St. Ann’s Press (2004). Also released in 2004 is Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side, a catalogue released by Amherst College coinciding with a large-scale exhibition of the work at Amherst’s Mead Art Museum.

The exhibition has been organized by Magnum Photos, New York.

The gallery is located in the Williams Center for the Arts, Hamilton and High Streets, Easton, Pa. Exhibition hours during the fall and spring semester are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday; 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, as well as noon-5 p.m. the first Sunday of each month for First Sunday Easton; a half-hour before Williams Center performances; and by appointment. For more information, call (610) 330-5361 or email

The Williams Center gallery is funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Categorized in: News and Features