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Documentary Filmmaker Debuts Movie at Juniata about Civil Rights Photographer

(Posted March 14, 2005)

Charles Moore photographed Juniata student Pam Clemson protecting a student who had been beaten by Alabama police.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A documentary film tracing the career of Charles Moore, a photojournalist for Life magazine who photographed many of the seminal moments of the civil rights movement, will premiere at Juniata College as part of the college's "Living Testimony: Civil Rights Reunion and Renewal" event that will honor alumni and faculty who traveled to Alabama in 1965 to work for civil rights.

"Charles Moore: I Fight With My Camera" will debut at 3 p.m., Monday, March 21 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. The film, directed by Daniel Love, an undergraduate student at Duke University, and produced by independent filmmaker Kenneth Love, an award-winning documentary director, traces the career of Moore, who began shooting photos at the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser and became one of the nation's top photojournalists.

Moore and his camera were present at many of the most important civil rights events of the 1960s. His photos of Martin Luther King Jr. and the assault on protesters by police and firemen in Birmingham, Ala., where African-Americans were set upon by police dogs and pummeled by high-pressure streams from fire hoses, have been credited with helping to pass the 1964 Voting Rights Act.

Among those inspired by Moore's photographs were a group of Juniata College students and faculty who saw television footage and news photographs, many taken by Moore, of an assault on peaceful marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge outside Selma, Ala. on March 7, 1965.

After this assault, civil rights leaders called for college students to travel South to help in the fight for civil rights. A contingent of Juniata activists arrived on March 14 in Selma and were diverted to Montgomery on March 15. On March 16, while taking part in a street protest, mounted policemen attacked the crowd, which included the Juniata group. Amid the melee, Charles Moore was taking photographs and snapped images of Juniata poet-in-residence Galway Kinnell and student Harriet Richardson after Kinnell had been beaten with a club, and a sequence of photos of Juniata student Pam Clemson as she rescued a student who had been beaten.

All three of the Juniata activists pictured in Moore's photos, as well as five others who "went South," will return to campus for a reunion and panel discussion, as well as other civil rights-themed events

Moore, now 74 and living in Florence, Ala., talks in detail about the photos of the Juniata activists and other historic photographs in the 26-minute documentary. After the film, producer Kenneth Love, who will interview many of the returning activists for a longer version of the film, will talk about the project and answer questions.

Kenneth Love's most recent film is "Brilliant Fever: W. Eugene Smith and Pittsburgh," which traces the photos produced by another great Life photographer while on assignment in Pittsburgh. Love also produced and directed "One Shot: The Life and Work of Teenie Harris," which celebrates the life of a Pittsburgh-based African-American news photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier. Love has directed several films about Frank Lloyd Wright and Fallingwater and worked as photographer for more than 30 National Geographic television specials. He also is an accomplished still photographer, for National Geographic and a variety of other publications.

Director Daniel Love, who is Kenneth's son, has directed other films, including "Frank Bolden: The Man Behind the Words," a documentary about the city editor of the Pittsburgh Courier.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.