Attack Dogs Analysis

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From the 1950s through the 1960s the United States presence the effort by the African American community to gain equality and eliminate segregation in what is called The Civil Rights Movement. One of the images that highly influenced the outcome of the movement and helped achieve legislation that treated everyone equal was “Attack Dogs,” a photograph taken by Charles Moore in 1963 and published in the LIFE magazine. This photograph helped shed light on the unethical treatment of the peaceful protesters by police officers in Birmingham, Alabama, which essentially aided in gaining even more momentum and support for the civil rights movement. Writer John Kaplan from Life Magazine depicts Charles Moore as the most well-known and influential photographer…show more content…
Knowing of anti-segregation demonstrations that were taking place in Birmingham, Moore traveled to Birmingham to cover the events in 1963 (133). The riots that occurred in Birmingham lasted a total of five days and the photographs Moore took were later published in Life Magazine as part of an eleven-page layout dedicated to the Birmingham riots (134). The “attack dogs” was one of the images published in the magazine. The image that was titled “The dogs’ attack in Negroes’ reward,” captured the moment when a protestor was being attacked by a k-9, tearing his pants, while another dog in the background attacked another protestor (134). The police officers that were captured in the photograph were under the command of the police commissioner Eugune “Bull” Connor who stated, “I want them to see the dogs work,” as he allowed whites to watch the demonstrations of protestors being viciously attacked by dogs (134). Moore described the actions taken by the police officers during the protests as “repulsive,” and when the photograph was published in Life Magazine as part of the eleven-page layout, much of the nation seemed to agree with him (134). Life Magazine was a significant and influential media outlet that was read by half of the adult population in the United States and when the images were published the country was shocked to…show more content…
In the photograph it shows two protestors being attacked by K-9s, one protestor as the focus of the image and the other in the background of the photograph. The police officers in the photographs are allowing the dogs to attack these protestors, as it is seen that the police officers are not restraining the dogs and are in fact allowing them to savagely attack the protestors. Further evidence of the unethical treatment of these protestors was a statement made by the police commissioner Connor published along with the photographs it Vol 54. of Life Magazine in which he stated, “I want them to see the dogs work, look at those niggers run (30).” His comments and orders showed no sense of sympathy or professionalism in dealing with human beings protesting for equality. There was an assumption that had to be made that favored and supports the evidence that police officers were treating the protestors unethically. There is an assumption that the protestors were peacefully marching and gathering, which also shows the bias of the image, though powerful and real, it did not depict the nonpeaceful protestors, most of them young individuals, who were present in the Birmingham five-day riots

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