Crowds congregate before attending a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King at the ‘Illinois Rally for Civil Rights’ at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL, US, June 21, 1964. The same day, murders of Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
An avid lover of jazz music, Ted Williams combined this affinity with his love for photography, notably photographing studies of famous jazz musicians in the 1940’s. This image is a page out of history, but a slightly different beat for Williams, as it depicts individuals attending a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech in Chicago. However, it is no question that the history of jazz is black history, and so the thematic elements of Williams’ work overlaps to bring us a poignant image of what the Civil Rights Movement stood for. The ‘Freedom’ button on the back of the woman’s dress epitomizes the idealisms of MLK and his activism, while also shining a light on the life of a black person in America during the 1960’s.