These Historical Protest Photos Feel Incredibly Relevant Right Now

01.25.17 8 months ago

Sandra Lee Phipps

Pro-choice rally. NYC 1992

Last weekend, millions took to the pavement as cities around the nation hosted Women’s Marches and peaceful protests. It was stunning to see the images of the hundreds of thousands of people, crowding the streets, chanting and holding signs. Already, the day has gone down in history as the largest protest our country has ever known.

For many young people, Saturday’s march and 2016’s Black Lives Matter rallies have offered an intro-course to the power of resistance. But for older participants, the sight may have been all too familiar. One popular sign from the rallies was, “I can’t believe I’m still fighting this shit.”

Looking at history, it’s clear that our ability and right to protest is an important part of our American heritage. And given the current political flux, the new photography exhibition at the Bronx Documentary Center entitled, “Whose Streets? Our Streets! New York City: 1980-2000” couldn’t be more fitting.

The show includes images from 38 different photographers, exhibited together for the first time. They chronicle the protests and social movements that took place in New York from 1980-2000. It’s a powerful collection — one that feels rich with history and incredibly urgent at the same time.