Danny Lyon: Message to the Future Audio Guide Playlist
Listen to commentary from scholars Elisabeth Sussman, Todd Gitlin, Julian Cox, and artist Danny Lyon on selected works in the exhibition Danny Lyon: Message to the Future.
Narrator: One of SNCC’s major goals was to help black voters exercise their rights as American citizens. In the South, African American voters were frequently thwarted by literacy tests and extra layers of bureaucracy. Beyond that, they were often violently harassed when they attempted to register or vote. These two photographs create a vivid picture of the tension surrounding voter registration drives.
Elisabeth Sussman: What's so amazing about them is that it's before and after. You have these two guys, each of them standing up with signs that say "Register to Vote." You see the sheriffs taking them away. Arresting them, essentially. It's a like pictures speak a million words here.
Narrator: Beyond the events themselves, Lyon’s photograph captures something powerful about the nature of nonviolent protest.
Elisabeth Sussman: I like the play on the hats here that you've got all these hard hat defended guys with their big sheriffs' stars pinned on stuff, and then, you have them hauling away this guy with this dandy little straw hat perched on his head, and this smart outfit that he has on. The hats tell the story in a way, I think.
Really, it was the desire to record history as it was happening that took him down South at these crucial moments. From the earliest moment, because this is '63 and the events unfolded in Selma and other places after that, and Danny was on the spot. He just would move around wherever the action was.
Danny Lyon (b. 1942), Voting Rights Demonstration, Organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Selma, Alabama, October 7, 1963. Gelatin silver print. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Photography Committee 95.6. © Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
- 550 Introduction to Danny Lyon: Message to the Future
- 552 Danny Lyon, Voting Rights Demonstration, Organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Selma, October 7, 1963
- 553 Danny Lyon, Crowds along the Funeral Route, Birmingham, Alabama, 1963
- 554 Danny Lyon, Clifford Vaughs, SNCC photographer, Arrested by the National Guard, Cambridge, Maryland, 1964
- 551 Danny Lyon, Self-Portrait, New Orleans, 1964
- 555 Danny Lyon, Kathy, Chicago, 1965 (printed 1966)
- 556 Danny Lyon, View through the Rear Wall, 89 Beekman Street, New York, 1967
- 557 Danny Lyon, Pumpkin and Roberta, Galveston, Texas, 1967
- 559 Danny Lyon, From the Picket Tower, Ferguson Unit, Texas, 1968
- 560 Danny Lyon, Two Inmates, Goree Unit, Texas, 1968
- 561 Danny Lyon, Eddie, New Mexico, 1972
- 558 Danny Lyon, Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 7, 1986
- 562 Danny Lyon, Haiti, 1987
- 563 Danny Lyon, Abandoned Homestead, Corson County, South Dakota, 2000
- 565 Danny Lyon, Lolly in Ruins, 2007
- 564 Danny Lyon, Occupy Demonstration on Broadway, Los Angeles, 2011
- 566 Danny Lyon, San Luis, New Mexico, 2014