Photographer Spotlight | Walter Gadsden 1963

Walter Gadsden Photographer Spotlight | Walter Gadsden 1963

This image of Parker High School student Walter Gadsden being attacked by dogs was published in The New York Times on May 4, 1963. Image credit: Bill Hudson, Associated Press (source, youth demonstrations in the spring of 1963 in Birmingham)

Bill Hudson, an Associated Press photographer whose searing images of the civil rights era documented police brutality and galvanized the public, died Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla. He was 77.

Hudson was in Birmingham, Ala., when black demonstrators defied a city ban on protests in 1963, and police turned their dogs on marchers, and again in Selma, Ala., when fire hoses were officers’ weapon of choice.

Most enduring of Hudson’s portfolio is a May 3, 1963, image of an officer in dark sunglasses grabbing a black boy by his sweater as he lets a police dog bury its teeth into the youth’s stomach. The boy, Walter Gadsden, has his eyes lowered, with a look of passive calm.

Hudson died at Baptist Medical Center Beaches of congestive heart failure, his wife, the former Patricia Gantert confirmed. Hudson lived with his wife nearby in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

R.I.P. and keep on snapping. I wasn’t born until a year later…I can only imagine how difficult it was for Hudson to snap his photographs and on film during the civil rights movements which really had not calm down until at least 10-15 years later…..? May your soul rest in peace. I send my condolences to the family and friends of this true photographer who contributed many images in photographic archives for us to reflect on for a part of history that most of us would care to forget.


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