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'Marching On' Highlights Civil Rights Movement In Peekskill Exhibit

Nearly two dozen of Garrison photographer Leonard Freed's images of the Civil Rights Movement will be displayed in Peekskill at the Field Library from Feb. 23 through April 2.
Nearly two dozen of Garrison photographer Leonard Freed's images of the Civil Rights Movement will be displayed in Peekskill at the Field Library from Feb. 23 through April 2. Photo Credit: Leonard Freed

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – An exhibit of the works of Leonard Freed, a photographer known for his iconic images of the Civil Rights Movement, will be on display at the Field Library in Peekskill.

Freed, who lived in Garrison with his wife, Brigitte, died in 2006 at the age of 77.

The exhibit, “Marching On,” is a carefully curated selection of 22 timeless images from Brigitte (Klück) Freed’s personal collection.

She was not only the globe-trotting photojournalist’s partner in life, she was also his printer. The couple worked side by side to create at dozens of books and exhibits. Since Freed died, his wife has continued to protect and promote his work.

She will be at the Field’s reception for the exhibit, set for 5-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, to share memories of the now-famous portraits and how they were created.

The works on display capture the 1963 March on Washington, the birth of the Civil Rights Movement, and other intimate moments of black history.

Born in Brooklyn to Jewish, working-class parents of Eastern European descent, Freed originally wanted to become a painter. But he switched his passions to photography in 1954 while working in Amsterdam.

Traveling widely throughout Europe, he was on assignment in Berlin when he photographed a black soldier standing in front of the newly erected Berlin Wall.

The sight of the soldier who was defending the West while being denied basic rights at home led Freed to return stateside to document the Civil Rights struggle.

Among his most notable books were “Black in White America,” published in 1968, which addressed the Civil Rights Movement, and the 1980’s “Police Work,” which dealt with the realities of day-to-day life in the New York City Police Department.

As well as his work in the United States, Freed shot continuously in Italy, Turkey, Germany, Israel, and Lebanon. He also made four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television.

His photographs are in the collections belonging to the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, The Tate Modern, and The Smithsonian Institute, among others.

The show will remain up until April 2.

To see other Freed photos click here .

The Field Library is located at 4 Nelson Ave., Peekskill. It can be reached by calling (914) 737-1212.

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