Doris Derby, Civil Rights Era Photographer, Dies at 82

She was an artist who was studying anthropology when she became an activist in the civil rights movement and a rare woman to document Black life in photos.

“I had a quest to show what the average person was doing,” she told the Southern Oral History Program in 2011, part of a collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. “I had a quest to show our culture in total, not just a little bit, or negative stereotypes.”

Doris Derby’s Searing, Intimate Photos of the Civil Rights Movement

A book presents more than 110 pictures from Derby’s archive, offering a rich panorama of the key people and places behind the movement.

A Civil Rights Journey (MACK) is a powerful and moving testament to Derby’s years in the American South. The book presents more than 110 pictures from Derby’s archive, offering a rich panorama of the key people and places behind the movement in Mississippi, but also in Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana, where Derby also worked. Now 82, Derby is a retired anthropology professor in Georgia.