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Published on 01 November 2022


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During World War II, renowned photographer Gordon Parks created an image that was seen as a searing indictment of racial politics in the U.S. with Ella Watson, a cleaner who posed with her mop and broom in front of the American flag. Host Vincent Brown discusses Parks’ motivation for taking the photo, how he worked with Watson and his philosophy that the camera could be used “as a weapon.”

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ABOUT THE SERIES:
Images can tell powerful stories. One iconic photograph can symbolize an entire era. But if we expand the frame and examine the moment in which it was taken, a very different story can emerge. In this series of documentary shorts, Harvard University historian Dr. Vincent Brown meets with curators, photographers and other experts to challenge common assumptions about iconic American images.

THE BIGGER PICTURE is a co-production of Timestamp Media LLC and The WNET Group, in association with Harvard University’s History Design Studio at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and Vision Maker Media.

Major funding for THE BIGGER PICTURE was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by the Anderson Family Charitable Fund, the Tamara L. Harris Foundation, the William Talbott Hillman Foundation, the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Additional funding for the digital production of THE BIGGER PICTURE was provided by Chasing the Dream – a public media initiative from The WNET Group, reporting on poverty, opportunity, and justice in America, and supported by The JPB Foundation, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III.


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