"'This is our Alabama': Racial Segregation, Discrimination, and Violence in Tamio Wakayama's Signs of Life" in The Global South, 9 (1), 124-146
This essay examines the civil rights photography of TamioWakayama. In 1963, Wakayama, a twenty-year-old Japanese Canadian philosophy student, left the University ofWestern Ontario and joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). A self-taught photographer, he shot pictures of SNCC's grassroots organizing activities in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. In this essay, I argue that Wakayama's representations of race in encourage his audience to see civil rights activists' demands for meaningful racial reform and redress as both legitimate and urgently necessary. Wakayama's photographs of African American and Native struggles against racial segregation's material and psychological effects reveal the US South and Canada's shared histories of racialized dispossession, dehumanization, and discrimination.
Jade Ferguson is an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph’s School of English and Theatre Studies. Her work and research interests include Civil Rights photography and literature, critical race theory, and 19th to mid-20th Century Canadian literature.
Other publications from this author include: