Bruce Davidson (American, b. 1933)
Time of Change (Damn the Defiant), 1963, printed later.
Silver gelatin print.
20 x 24 inches.
Gund Gallery Collection; Gift of David Horvitz ‘74 and Francie Bishop Good, 2017.5.1.
Black women participated in nonviolent protests that were often met with violent ends. Photographer Bruce Davidson documented such examples of racial tensions during the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. From Davidson’s Civil Rights series, “Time of Change,” Damn the Defiant contrasts a young black demonstrator with the two white officers who restrain her. In the background of the photograph, a cinema marquee advertises for the film Damn the Defiant!, a sentiment that manifests in the young woman’s struggle in the foreground. The film Damn the Defiant! is about a mutiny on a ship during the Napoleonic Wars. This action film entertained audiences with a fictional story of successful resistance while the real struggle of black activists like this woman was too often disregarded. The officers wrap their hands around the woman’s wrists like handcuffs as she is arrested, though the woman’s piercing gaze suggests that the fight has not ended.
-Jenna Wendler ‘17 for the 2017 Gund Associate-curated exhibition Black Women/Black Lives.