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Soraya Stories

Historic Selma Photographs on View at The Soraya

By Ricki Quinn

John Kouns Photography Collection from The Bradley Center


The Tom and Ethel Bradley Center at California State University, Northridge (named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley) has recently received the photographic collection of Photographer John Kouns. Kouns photographed historically significant events during the Civil Rights Movement, including the little covered Selma Voting registration drive in 1963 and the Selma March that Dr. King participated in 1965. The Soraya will be partnering with The Bradley Center to display these photographs in The Soraya’s Art Gallery space in concert with Jason Moran performing the score of Selma (2014) with a live orchestra beginning February 1.

We Shall Overcome, March on Washington, August 28, 1963 – John Kouns

About the Photographer

John Kouns’ photography of social movements often appears un-credited in history books, but his images of the United Farm Workers movement and the march from Selma to Birmingham have been seen in many books and films as part of the archives of the American Labor movement at Wayne State University in Detroit. Kouns, trained at the New York Institute of Photography and made a successful career in industrial photography, but the pictures he shot for neither money nor credit help preserve the legacy of what made the social movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s so powerful. John rarely focused his attention on the leaders rather he was motivated by a sense of a people’s movement and turned to the people for inspiration. (Courtesy of The Oviatt Library at CSUN)

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