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Photos, Oral Histories, Ephemera, and more from     

DC Public Library Special Collections     

 

About this collection

The Washington Star Photograph Collection is the photo archive of The Washington Star newspaper, including both images that were and were not published in the newspaper. The digital collection includes photographs documenting D.C. in the days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

The Star was the newspaper of record in D.C. from the late 19th through the mid-20th century, though it was eventually superseded and then purchased by The Washington Post. The newspaper's photograph archive includes approximately 1.3 million photographs from the mid-1930s to 1981, most of which were taken in the 1960s and 1970s. The collection has been kept together intact, therefore national and international images can be found as well as local D.C.

 

Sections of the collection are being digitized and made published online on an ongoing basis, beginning with the 1968 Riots and Poor People's Campaign series of the collection as part of the library's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1968. The 1968 Riots section documents life in D.C. in the days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis on April 4, 1968, including mourning, riots across the district, ensuing destruction, and government and military response. The Poor People's Campaign was a civil rights movement initiated by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in spring 1968 to support the efforts of American poor people. The campaign lobbied for economic justice and vital social programs via an Economic Bill of Rights and organized a protest encampment of thousands of poor people on the National Mall, known as Resurrection City, beginning May 21, 1968.

 

The Washington Post purchased the physical assets of the Washington Star newspaper when it closed in 1981. In 1982, the Post donated photographs, clippings and papers of the Star to the DC Public Library. The Post retained copyright to photographs taken by Star photographers and licensed the library to grant permissions for reproduction to library users. The library does not have the rights and cannot grant permission for photos in the collection taken by wire services or other non-Star photographers and thus those images are not yet being digitized.

 

Learn more about the collection on its DCPL Special Collections webpage.

 
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