Marching To The Freedom Dream presents American photojournalist Dan Budnik’s significant body of work documenting three seminal marches of the civil rights movement. It is published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and precedes the 50th anniversaries of the Selma-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act in 2015. A foreword to the book is written by prolific civil rights activist, Harry Belafonte.
The book begins with the peaceful Youth March for Integrated Schools in 1958, organised by Harry Belafonte and Bayard Rustin, where the White House gates were rudely slammed in the faces of the petitioners. We then move to the iconic March On Washington in August 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his monumental “I Have a Dream” speech.
The book culminates with the unprecedented and triumphant 54 mile Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. This was Dr. King’s greatest achievement where he led marchers, which at times swelled to 1000’s of people when safety conditions permitted, through some of the most segregated areas of rural Alabama, the heart of racist Dixie. Budnik’s images capture the non-violent solidarity of the participants. He salutes the diversity and passion of the marchers ranging from all walks of life who were willing to serve and sacrifice.
Alongside Budnik’s black and white photographs, his newly found colour work has been included in the volume, with his own handwritten captions accompanying the images, providing a more contextual and personal information on the marches’ participants.
A photohistoric context was written by photographer and scholar James L. Enyeart, former director of the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona and the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.
“Dan Budnik is amongst American photography’s best kept secrets. His exceptional images from the Civil Rights era have been rarely seen since they were taken half a century ago....his portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. adorns one of TIME’s most memorable covers.” – Phil Bicker, Senior Photo Editor at TIME.
BIOGRAPHY: Dan Budnik (b.1933, Long Island, NY) started photographing the New York school of Abstracts Expressionist artists in the mid-fifties. It was his teacher Charles Alston at the Art Students’ League of New York, the first African American to teach at the League, who inspired his interest in documentary photography and the budding Civil Rights Movement.
In 1957 he started working at Magnum Photos, New York, assisting several photographers, notably Cornell Capa, Eve Arnold, and Elliott Erwitt. In 1964 he left Magnum and continued specialising in essays for leading national and international magazines, focussing on civil and human rights, ecological issues and artists. Since 1970 Budnik has worked with the Hopi and Navaho traditional people of northern Arizona, and received for this work a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1973 and a Polaroid Foundation Grant in 1980. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Honor Roll Award of the American Society of Media Photographers. He lives and works in Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona.