Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Solidarity march honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after his assassination.
Memphis, Tennessee, April 6, 1968.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

New York CityArt & Culture

True Grit

Ditch the rose-tinted glasses for unflinching look at 1960s America, through viewfinder of Ben Fernandez...

It’s tempting to look back at the 1960s, especially ’60s America, with a rose-tinted nostalgia. It was, it’s true, a time of great positive change – but let’s not forget what it cost to win those advancements in civil rights, and what else was happening on the other side of the world in Vietnam. So it wasn’t all flowers in hair and endless sunshine during that tumultuous time, as photographer Ben Fernandez saw first hand.

A former crane driver, his tough upbringing instilled in him a courage to get in amongst the unrest, the violence and the bigotry and amass an unflinching portfolio from one of the world’s most important periods. Fernandez was one of the only photographers to gain access to Martin Luther King Jr’s home, giving him a rare glimpse into the family life supporting the man who would sacrifice everything for his cause. He also captured the rabble-rousing campaigners standing defiantly against change, as well as the authorities struggling to keep the two sides apart. A collection of Fernandez work entitled The ’60s: Decade of Change is being exhibited at the Bronx Documentary Centre until 20 July.

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Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Allen Ginsberg at the Women’s House of Detention.
New York, March 1964.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

The National Guard on the streets of Newark, aftermath of the riots.
The Newark riots lasted 6 days and left 26 dead. Summer 1967.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Construction workers clash with police during a pro-Vietnam War demonstration.
New York, 1970.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Protest against the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic.
Circa 1965.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Draft card burning in Union Square, New York.
November 1965.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with his daughter Bonnie at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Atlanta, Georgia, February 1968.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Pro-Vietnam War protest, circa 1968.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

Ben Fernandez — The ‘60s: Decade of Change

Pro-Vietnam War protest.
Union Square, New York City, May 1964.
© Benedict J. Fernandez

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