Not every civil rights hero gets remembered, 40 years later. So many of them have been forgotten by history, even though their place in 20th century lore deserves to be richly remembered.
Today, I want to talk about Charles Moore, who died last week.
Back in August I wrote a blog post about a remarkable book called “The Race Beat,” by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff. It told the story about how reporters, editors and photographers helped force civil rights onto the front pages and evening newscasts of America, and how the media helped push long-overdue change onto our society.
Charles Moore was the Muhammad Ali of this field, a fantastic, fearless picture-taker who seemed to be at the center of everything that went on. A white Southerner, Moore knew how powerful photos could be in shocking other whites into action and anger, and he had a subtle way of easing himself into tense situations.
Working for Life magazine, he photographed Martin Luther King and other famous leaders of the era, but he also documented despicable acts like the hosing of young black kids in Birmingham.
“In Birmingham when I saw the dogs I don’t think anything appalled me more, and I’ve been to Vietnam,” Mr. Moore told the New York Times in 1999. “I photographed it, and the world rushed in. I realized the power of even one image. . . . What changed was my awareness. I wanted to show how awful, how vulgar, how terrible this whole thing was.”
Looking at just a small sample of his work, which NPR has collected here (there are books featuring Moore’s photos available on Amazon as well), it’s obvious how skilled Moore was.
As a fellow journalist, I’m honored to be in the same profession with someone as history-altering as Charles Moore. Every journalism school in the country should teach students about him. His bravery helped change a nation.
The Washington Post has a terrific obituary here as well.
***OK people, I’m not making you wait until Thursday, because I realize many of you may have brackets to fill out. So herewith, my unofficial, 2010 NCAA Tournament upsets, and Final Four picks. Keep in mind, even though I follow college basketball pretty closely and have studied this bracket and these teams, I NEVER win NCAA Tournament pools.
With that said …
I like Cornell upsetting Temple, a 12 seed over a five. I like Saint Mary’s, not only beating Richmond, but upsetting 2 seed Villanova in the second round. I like Butler (great shooting team, on a terrific roll) not only getting to the Sweet 16, but upsetting Syracuse while they’re there.
I also like San Diego State over Tennessee, and Siena over Purdue.
My Final Four? I can’t not pick Kansas. I tried, but I can’t find another team in that region who could beat them. But there’s nobody good enough. I’m also picking Duke (yes, I’m biased, but they are by far the best team in that region. Though an Elite 8 game against Baylor, in Houston, would be kind of a road game and therefore tricky).
I’m going with Kansas State out of the West region, and West Virginia, in a slight upset, beating Kentucky in the East.
My national title game is one CBS is sure to get HUGE ratings for: Kansas State-West Virginia. And as much as I hate Bob Huggins, the jerk coach of W.Va., I’m going with the Mountaineers to win the championship.
I hope I’m wrong on that one.
(Yeah, that’s another One Shining Moment above. It’s from 1998, when Kentucky won. It’s worth viewing just to see the famous Bryce Drew shot. It’s at 0:45.)