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Traveling through New Orleans on a cross-country road trip in 1955, the Swissborn photographer Robert Frank snapped a picture of a passing streetcar. The result, Trolley—New Orleans, is a searing image of everyday racism. The streetcar’s riders, framed by the vehicle’s windows, are divided by race: white passengers sit in front, Black passengers in back, as mandated by Louisiana law under Jim Crow. When Trolley—New Orleans appeared on the cover of Frank’s landmark photobook The Americans in 1959, New Orleans’s streetcars had been desegregated for more than a year, but the civil rights struggles of the 1960s still lay ahead. In this volume of the MoMA One on One series, an essay by curator Lucy Gallun explores the image in the context of The Americans—an iconic portrait of Frank’s adopted country—and in relation to other photographs of the 1950s and ’60s, illuminating the essential role that pictures such as Trolley—New Orleans have played in the ongoing fight for racial justice in America. 48 pp.; 35 illus.
Size7.25w x 9"h
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