A Collection of Rare Color Photographs Depicts MLK Leading the Chicago Freedom Movement

The Smithsonian has just recently acquired a few of the only known photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the Chicago Freedom Movement.

During the civil rights movement in the mid 1960’s, a Chicago priest named Bernard Kleina knew he wanted to become involved. The 30 year old priest put everything aside, grabbed his camera and began marching along with the crowd. Little did Kleina know at the time, that the snapshots from that day would belong to one of the rarest collections of history in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“This was really Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement’s entrée into…trying to make sure that this conversation was a national conversation,” says Rhea Combs, a photography curator at the African American History Museum. “They really talk about a moment that has been lost in a lot of conversations around civil rights,”

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