BLACK IN WHITE AMERICA 1963 - 1965 • Leonard Freed
Reel Art Press / 2020
Hardcover / 224 pages

In 1961, Leonard Freed was on assignment in Berlin. He photographed a Black soldier standing in front of the wall. The irony of this soldier defending the USA on foreign soil while Black Americans at home were fighting for their civil rights was not lost on Freed. He returned to the States in 1963 to photograph the March on Washington and began a journey to document Black communities in the North and South living within a deeply segregated and racist country.

Leonard Freed’s seminal civil rights photo essay, Black in White America, was first published in 1968. This newly expanded and redesigned edition includes unseen photographs, as well as Freed’s most iconic images and is the definitive collection of his photographs from the time. The images have never been printed in such quality before, the clarity of print serving to bring home the singular power of Freed’s talent as a documentarian.

This extraordinary work includes pivotal moments in the civil rights movement, such as the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery marches. It is also a nuanced journey into the ordinary lives of a marginalized Black community living within a deeply divided nation. Freed was celebrated for his singular talent as a socially conscious photojournalist, and this essay conveys with power and dignity the exhausting, endless struggle of being Black in white America.

Leonard Freed (1929–2006) was an acclaimed American documentary photojournalist and member of Magnum Photos. Born and raised in working-class Brooklyn, Freed rose to prominence for his portrayal of societal and racial injustices, particularly in relation to the Black community during the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. He is also renowned for his photo-essays on the Jewish community in Amsterdam and Germany, the Yom Kippur War, Asian immigration in England, North Sea oil development, Spain after Franco and the New York police department in the 1970s, among others.