Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Features U.Va. Professor and Photo Exhibit

Jan. 23, 2007 -- The University’s annual commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 24, featuring an exhibit of rarely seen photographs of King by Benedict Fernandez, on display at the Newcomb Hall Art Gallery. Claudrena Harold, U.Va. assistant professor of history, will give a talk on “The Importance of Dr. King’s Legacy Today” at 7 p.m. in the gallery.

On April 15, 1967, during a march in New York City from Central Park to the United Nations, photographer Benedict Fernandez met Martin Luther King Jr. Less than a year later, the great civil rights leader was dead, killed by an assassin's bullet. But during his last days, Fernandez snapped some of the most illuminating images of the man and his turbulent times. In these photographs, we see King as a father, a husband, and an activist whose battles have taken their toll.

Fernandez, who was born in Spanish Harlem in 1936, is widely acclaimed as an educator and photographer. He chaired the Photography Program at the New School and Parsons School of Design, New York City, and was a founder of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Photography at Parsons. Fernandez received a Guggenheim award, won a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and published a book on his documentation of the protest movement, "In Opposition: Images of American Dissent in the Sixties."  His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, and other collections.

The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 2. The event is sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs, the University Programs Council, Student Council and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.