Charles Moore is the legendary Montgomery photojournalist whose coverage of the Civil Rights era produced some of the most famous shots in the world (the dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham, the Selma Bridge, and Martin Luther King’s arrest in Montgomery, among many others.) His photographs are credited with helping to quicken the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The noted historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. said that Moore’s photographs transformed the national mood and made the legislation not just necessary, but possible. This is his story.
His photographs show a willingness to get into the heart of the action by using a short lens – whether it is protesters being attacked by police dogs or, famously, being tear-gassed by state troopers in Selma in 1965.
When published in Life – his shots of the 1963 Birmingham riots took up 11 pages – Moore’s photographs brought worldwide attention to the civil rights struggle. According to former US senator Jacob K Javits, Moore’s pictures “helped to spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964″. Moore later went on to photograph the civil war in the Dominican Republic, political violence in Haiti and Venezuela, and the Vietnam conflict.
Charles Moore with one of his photographs. Photograph: Jim Hannon/AP