Hundreds of stunning images from Black history have been buried in the New York Times photo archives for decades. Four Times staff members unearth these overlooked photographs and investigate the stories behind them in this remarkable collection.
New York Times photo editor Darcy Eveleigh made an unwitting discovery when she found dozens of never-before-published photographs from Black history in the crowded bins of the Times archives in 2016. She and three colleagues, Dana Canedy, Damien Cave, and Rachel L. Swarns, began exploring the often untold stories behind the images and chronicling them in a series entitled “Unpublished Black History” that was later published by the newspaper.
Unseen showcases those photographs and digs even deeper into the Times’s archives to include 175 photographs and the stories behind them in this extraordinary collection. Among the entries is a 27-year-old Jesse Jackson leading an anti-discrimination rally in Chicago; Rosa Parks arriving at a Montgomery courthouse in Alabama; a candid shot of Aretha Franklin backstage at the Apollo Theater; Ralph Ellison on the streets of his Manhattan neighborhood; the firebombed home of Malcolm X; and a series by Don Hogan Charles, the first black photographer hired by the Times, capturing life in Harlem in the 1960s.
Why were these striking photographs not published? Did the images not arrive in time to make the deadline? Were they pushed aside by the biases of editors, whether intentional or unintentional? Unseen dives deep into the Times’s archives to showcase this rare collection of photographs and stories for the very first time.