The big picture: a street corner in civil rights-era Chicago

Dave Heath turned moments of solitude into moments of connection and common humanity in his street photography

Dave Heath took this picture in Chicago in 1956, the year that Martin Luther King Jr first spoke at the city’s university about the injustices of segregation: “This is a conflict between the forces of light and dark, and in the end there will be victory for justice and democracy because love will triumph!”

Heath himself had not long returned from a different conflict, the Korean war, where he had seen two years’ service as a machine gunner alongside Americans of all races. He had a camera with him in the army camp and used it to capture his fellow soldiers in private thought. When he came home, he employed that same eye on city streets and subways.

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