It was the picture of Tommie Smith and John Carlos protesting the unfair treatment of blacks in America during the medal presentation at the 1968 Olympics that sparked the idea behind the picture of Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Gloria Steinem.
That iconic image of Hughes, a black woman, and Steinem, a white woman, with their fists held high in solidarity continues to stand the test of time as a symbol of female empowerment and the fight for equality.
Hughes and Steinem were in their 30’s when the original photograph was taken. Now, more than 45 years later a recreation of the original image caught the eye of the Smithsonian National Museum.
“I was very happy to know that Gloria and I were still noticed for what we’ve been doing for a number of years,” Hughes said
The original photo, captured for Esquire magazine in 1971 by photographer Dan Wynn, sent a powerful message of unity and strength.
The picture also became one of the most prominent images of the feminist movement.
More than 40 years later, in 2013, the pair took that same photo in Hughes’ Jacksonville home.
St. Augustine photographer, Daniel Bagan, was behind the lens.
“With the political atmosphere that’s out there, the timing was right. People wanted to see this. This photograph touches them.”
The recreated photo will now join the original, as part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
It’s a dream come true for Bagan, “It’s incredible,” Bagan said. “The planets aligned and I found myself a portrait photographer with an image in the national portrait gallery with two iconic women. It’s just amazing,”
Hughes says activism for equal rights is needed as much today as it was needed years ago.
With 2017 being the 100th year of The Equal Rights Amendment, designed to guarantee equal rights for all regardless of sex, Hughes says it’s now time to even the playing field, as they have waited long enough.
“100 years is too much, 101 years we will not accept,” Hughes demanded.
She says women must reclaim their position and lead the way.
“When I was growing up (in Lumpkin, GA), the women of the community got together and I would sit under the porch and listen to them talk and hear them come up with solutions to the problems in the community. At that time, racism was so high. I didn’t even know about sexism and classicism. I knew something was there but I didn’t know what to call it. From those under the porch meetings where I listened to women talk, I learned that we need to be actively involved in ownership of ourselves.”
Hughes and Steinem are still close friends.
Steinem resides in New York. She continues to fight for equality.
The recreated photo was also unveiled on Oct. 9 at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library at the University of North Florida. It is also on display in the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit, Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics.
To purchase an autographed copy of the photo, click here.
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