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From the 1950s to 2020, how cameras and video have been used as a tool for social justice

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Cameras have been essential tools to look at the wonders and horrors of life since their creation. For Black Americans, the camera has also been an instrument to show the atrocities of violence against Black bodies.

Martin Luther King Jr. used news cameras to expose anti-Black violence by white mobs. Darnella Frazier was only 17 when she recorded the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police. In both instances, the visual documentation of violence sent shockwaves throughout society. No longer were these acts hearsay, but rather they were made real for those that could not or refused to believe in their existence.

“The Prophetic Lens” by Phil Allen Jr. takes an essential look at video cameras being used as a device to further racial justice.

How effective have widespread images of violence against Black, brown, and queer bodies been in terms of justice and accountability? What other events in history have been shaped because of a video camera?

How has the use of social media played a role in sharing acts of violence? Does it hurt or help to hold offenders accountable? Can a personal camera also be seen as a protective device?

Guest: Phil Allen Jr., poet, Ph.D. candidate and author. His latest release is "The Prophetic Lens: The Camera and Black Moral Agency From MLK to Darnella Frazier "

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, September 19.

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