He Risked His Life Photographing the 1961 Freedom Riders. Theodore Gaffney Just Died from the Coronavirus at 92.Breaking News
tags: obituaries, civil rights, photography, journalism, coronavirus, mass media, COVID-19
In the spring of 1961, Jet magazine asked Theodore Gaffney, a Washington freelance photographer, to travel with the Freedom Riders, a group of activists from across the country who planned to challenge segregation in the South by riding Greyhound and Trailways buses.
Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality, the Freedom Riders wanted to sit in the front of the buses with white people, use whites-only restrooms in bus terminals and eat at whites-only lunch counters.
Gaffney, who died Easter Sunday of the coronavirus at age 92, eagerly signed up. He found himself risking his life and documenting one of the most tumultuous 48 hours in civil rights history.
Gaffney’s own history helped make him the perfect person to chronicle the civil rights movement. He was the descendant of people who had been enslaved at a plantation near the town of Gaffney, S.C., according to his first cousin Patricia Johnson, 72.
comments powered by Disqus
- How Tina Turner Escaped Abuse and Reclaimed her Name
- The Biden Administration Wants to Undo the Damage of Urban Highways. It Won't be Simple
- AAUP: Fight Tooth and Nail Against Florida's Higher Ed Agenda Because Your State is Next
- Texas GOP's Ten Commandments School Bill Fails
- Former Alabama Governors: We Regret Overseeing Executions
- Jeff Sharlet on the Intersectional Erotics of Fascism
- Scholars Stage Teach-in on Racism in DeSantis's Back Yard
- Paul Watanabe, Historian and Manzanar Survivor, Makes Sure History Isn't Forgotten
- Massachusetts-Based Historians: Book Bans in Florida Affect Us, Too
- Deborah Lipstadt's Work Abroad as Antisemitism Envoy Complicated by Definitional Dispute