FOR MORE THAN A DOZEN DAYS NOW, people have been marching—flooding the streets, declaring “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” on signs and t-shirts, and raising their voices demanding change. In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., and countless others, protestors are calling for police prosecutions, police reform, and racial justice in cities across the nation and the world.

Black women photographers are among those documenting the daily demonstrations. Their powerful images are recording a groundswell of outrage and community action in response to the endless succession of Black men, women, and even children, who have been killed by police and white aggressors, in recent weeks and years and dating back generations.


June 4, 2020: Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, N.Y. – Carrying a U.S. flag emblazoned with “I Can’t Breathe,” this man was among the thousands who showed up here for George Floyd’s memorial, where his brother Terrence Floyd said a few words in his honor. | © Kay Hickman, Photo by Kay Hickman. Used by Permission


On Instagram, Washington D.C., photographer Dee Dwyer captioned a May 30 post: “I’ve been to a few protests but this one was very intense. The people are tired America.”

Dwyer is a member of Authority Collective, a network of “more than 200 womxn, non-binary and gender expansive people of color working in the photography, film and VR/AR industries.” Tara Pixley in Los Angeles is a co-founder and board member of Authority Collective, which connects members to job opportunities, training, mentorship, and resources, such as Do No Harm guidelines for photographing police brutality protests.

The photographers and photojournalists featured here, including Kay Hickman of New York and Vanessa Charlot who splits her time between St. Louis and Miami, also contribute to @everydayblackamerica. Some are members of @womenphotograph.

“I’ve been to a few protests but this one was very intense. The people are tired America.” — Photographer Dee Dwyer

After working in Florida at the Tampa Bay Times for five years, Monica Herndon is a photographer at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is also active in the National Association of Black Journalists, serving as vice chair of the Visual Task Force. She chronicled protests in Philadelphia.

Many of the photographs shared here are black-and-white calling to mind scenes from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s when the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements transformed America’s social and political landscape. Now 50, 60, nearly 70 years later, people are back in the streets fighting for basic rights and protections.

In Minneapolis, photographer Patience Zalanga captioned one such image: “My city’s pain is resting in my throat like a fire tonight. Justice for George Floyd. I don’t have anything profound to say besides I’m hurting.”

The latest calls for action against police brutality and a structural shift in American culture look and feel different. Whether widespread durable change is afoot for a new generation remains to be determined. Here’s a slice of what 13 U.S.-based Black female photographers are seeing and experiencing. CT

Vanessa Charlot | St. Louis/Miami

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Emotions ran high in a way that was particularly heartwrenching yesterday. The funeral of George Floyd made so many black and brown men show their feelings without the restraint that is often placed on the notions of masculinity. Black women mourned for the loss of another son, husband, brother, father and friend. Documenting these protest has had my feelings all over the place. So many times I had put my camera down and fist up because I too am a black woman in America and mother to a black son. Yesterday was the first time I truly cried. I cried for myself, my son and my community. Yet and still, I remain hopeful. Nothing lasts forever, change is inevitable and CHANGE WILL COME!!! . . . . . . . . #haitian #stlouis #protest #capturestreets #protesters #georgefloyd #icantbreathe #sayhisname #reportage #photodocumentary #blacklivesmatter #socialdocumentary #photojournalist #justiceforgeorgefloyd #burndiary #ig_global_people #worldface #streetphotographer #lifeportraits #documentaryphotography #documentaryphotographer #thestreetphotographyhub #qwoc #miami #streets_storytelling #reportagespotlight #magnumphotos #natgeo #blackculture

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“Documenting these protest has had my feelings all over the place. So many times I had put my camera down and fist up because I too am a black woman in America and mother to a black son. Yesterday was the first time I truly cried. I cried for myself, my son and my community.”
— Vanessa Charlot

Dee Dwyer | Washington, D.C.

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Tam Henders | Cleveland, Ohio

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“The raised fist, or the clenched fist, is a symbol of solidarity and support. It is also used as a salute to express unity, strength, defiance, or resistance. Cleveland started with unity and strength and ended with defiance and resistance.” — Tam Henderson

Monica Herndon | Philadelphia

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Kay Hickman | New York, N.Y.

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Alexis Hunley | Los Angeles

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I’m not sure where to start. I made it home last night at exactly 7:57pm. And as I sat in my car shaking I realized I was not okay. The cruelty I witnessed by the police yesterday on Fairfax will stay with me forever. Y’all have seen the videos and the posts. It is soooo difficult to accurately describe the mix of rage and sorrow I am still experiencing. The love I have for every Black person who has marched, protested, and organized past and present is what’s keeping me together. For every non-Black ally that has used their power and privilege to support, protect, and uplift their Black peers you have my love as well – keep going, please. — Alexus Hunley

Sarahbeth Maney | Oakland, Calif.

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Stephanie Mei-Ling | Los Angeles/New York

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Flo Ngala | New York, N.Y.

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If I lied as a kid, or did something I wasn’t supposed to, I’d get in trouble. Sometimes a timeout or getting grounded … sometimes I‘d get a beating. The punishment more or less had to match the severity of the action, for it to be fair, for me to begin to learn my lesson. Justice ain’t a new concept y’all. We learn it at home, teach it to our kids, learn that “for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction”. When we pleaded with our parents, they had to still put their foot down, teach us we could not do the wrong thing and get away with it. What does America suggest is fair punishment for centuries of discrimination against Black people? What is the equal and opposite reaction to a country that lets some get away with murder and incarcerates others for simply existing? What is left to do when we being ourselves seems deserving of punishment from the police? Asking for a couple million friends.

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A few months ago I had really different plans for my 25th birthday weekend. But I’d truly rather protest than party, I’d rather hold up signs than shots, I’d rather march and scream and shout and cry and run while I still can before I become a name on a sign or a shirt because of the color of my skin. — Flo Ngala

Tara Pixley | Los Angeles

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While the police and National Guard closed off intersections throughout Hollywood, keeping protests contained in certain areas, waves of people continued to find each other and swell in numbers. A woman paced along the line of National Guard with her daughter, leading the crowd in protest chants such as “Justice for George Floyd” and “Say Their Names.” On a corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St., police formed a link and several dozen prepped police batons pointed at the protestors in order to let a truck through an intersection barricaded by police bodies and vehicles. A National Guard accepted flowers from a protestor. During the procession of vehicles and walking protestors through Hollywood, many people sat on, reached out of or layed across slow-moving cars. Childish Gambino’s “This is America” played loudly from many passing vehicles. #blm #breonnataylor #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforahmaud #blacklivesmatter #losangeles #protests #hollywood #thisisamerica #photojournalism #blackphotographers

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Alyssa Pointer | Atlanta

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On Thursday I was in #Brunswick to cover the reactions of supporters that were gathered outside the Glynn County Courthouse to show support for #ahmaudarbery. After an all-day hearing, Travis and Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan have each been charged with felony murder in the Arbery case. “It was still very difficult to hear in the context of this prolonged chase – this hunt – that after he successfully murdered Ahmaud Arbery he stood over his body and proclaimed a racial epithet like that," Lee Merritt [photo 5], Arbery's family lawyer said. Once the chargers were declared, a peaceful and celebratory rally/march took place in downtown Brunswick. #IrunwithMaud • • • Ahmaud’s parents, Wanda Cooper Jones and Marcus Arbery were present for the hearings. [photo 6 and 7] • • • During the hearing an older white gentleman visited outside of the courthouse. [photo 3] He was wearing a “Legacy of the Confederacy” shirt and said insensitive racial remarks to the people gathered. He was had the right to stay but left when a supporter attempted to speak with him about his views.

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Lynsey Weatherspoon | Atlanta

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“Atlanta. May 29, 2020. A city wrapped in the cloth of the South’s most treacherous moments. It’s not the 50s or 60s. This is today. Black folks are tired. Tired of a system that continuously brings us to our knees. We dig our heels so deep into the ground, we no longer see our feet. We keep fighting and hopefully moving toward a space where we can be able to simply breathe.”
— Lynsey Weatherspoon

Patience S. Zalanga | Minneapolis/St. Paul

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FIND MORE information about women photographers and black photographers @diversifyphoto, @everydayblackamerica, @photogsofcolor, @blackwomenphotographers (coming soon), @authoritycollective, and Women Photograph, which offers a worldwide database of women photographers. Use these resources to find and hire photographers


First published in 1986, “Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers” by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe was re-released in 1993. “Lorna Simpson” and “Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video” are comprehensive catalogs documenting the photography practices of two leading artists. From Deborah Willis, “Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present” is a seminal volume chronicling a sweeping history. Also consider “LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Notion of Family,” “Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph,” and “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness,” the first major books to document a new generation of artists focused on photography. Finally, Devin Allen’s “A Beautiful Ghetto” captures Baltimore, its people and protests, in the wake of the 2015 police killing of Freddie Gray.


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