Flower

For all the world to see: visual culture and the struggle for social justice

I am a man.

I am a man.

Interesting project by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  They actually endorse CBR’s strategy of using horrifying photographs to expose and eradicate injustice.

For All the World to See is organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at UMBC.  In introducing the project, Project Director Maurice Berger describes activists who are  “exceptionally skillful image-makers, adept at capitalizing on the authority of pictures to edify, educate, and persuade.”

Pay particular attention to Section 3, Let the World See What I Have Seen: Evidence and Persuasion.  Check out this quote:

Positive images could not by themselves resolve the problem of segregation or racism. While some white Americans supported the movement, many knew little about it, were apolitical, or rejected its goals.  As the civil rights movement evolved, its leaders faced a daunting challenge:  How best to spur black activism and inspire white people to support the cause of racial equality?  Although there was no single answer, it was clear to many that visual images could be decisive in convincing the nation of the severity of the problem of racism and the extent to which it threatened American democracy.

In this regard, photographs and motion pictures were employed to report, document, or offer proof: imagery helped underscore the reality of racism in America, and bring to light little-known events. Leaders of the movement understood the power of visual culture, far more than words alone, to influence public opinion by exposing the ugly, violent, or deadly side of racism and segregation.

Sound familiar?

Hear the anguish of Mamie Till Bradley as she describes her decision to publicize the photos of her son’s mutilated body:

I couldn’t bear the thought of people being horrified by the sight of my son. But on the other hand, I felt the alternative was even worse. After all, we had averted our eyes for far too long, turning away from the ugly reality facing us as a nation. Let the world see what I’ve seen.  (Mamie Till Bradley, mother of Emmett Till)

Clearly, civil rights leaders understood the power of pictures.  So do the folks at UMBC.  Perhaps that explains why pro-life students at UMBC were forced to sue the University to protect their own First Amendment rights to display pictures of abortion.  Stories here and here.

OK, UMBC doesn’t endorse CBR; but they certainly endorse our strategy in their presentation.  If pro-aborts understand the power of pictures to reform society, why are some pro-lifers still reluctant to use them?

Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to “For all the world to see: visual culture and the struggle for social justice”

  1. August 26th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    (Prolifer)ations 8-26-11 - Jill Stanek says:

    […] Fletcher Armstrong spots the contradiction: The University of Maryland Baltimore County endorsed showing graphic images of the civil rights movement in a recent event on their campus, but pro-life students had to sue the university to display pictures of abortion. […]

  2. August 27th, 2011 at 11:24 am

    (Prolifer)ations 8-26-11 | FavStocks says:

    […] Fletcher Armstrong spots the contradiction: The University of Maryland Baltimore County endorsed showing graphic images of the civil rights movement in a recent event on their campus, but pro-life students had to sue the university to display pictures of abortion. […]

Leave a Reply

*