The Day I was Born
Artbook /D.A.P

The Day I was Born

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Fifty years ago, New York–based photographer Eugene Richards (born 1944) worked as a VISTA Volunteer and then as a reporter in the Arkansas Delta. Even after the newspaper he helped found closed its doors, Richards kept revisiting the region. In early 2019 he returned to the small town of Earle, Arkansas, where, on a September night in 1970, peaceful protesters were attacked by a crowd of white men and women brandishing sticks and firing guns. Crossing the tracks from what had been the Black side of the town into the white side of the town, Richards happened upon an old appliance store. On the shadowy and cracked walls of the building were painted the faces of Jesus, Malcolm X, H. Rap Brown, Angela Davis, Dr. Martin Luther King and John Brown—the faces of revolution, reconciliation, change. In the months that followed, the old store became for Richards a kind of portal, a doorway into the region’s volatile history and into the lives of those who lived, struggled, raised families, grew old and died there.

The Day I Was Born interweaves full-bleed images of Earle with deeply personal narratives in the words of people who live there.

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