Nat Finkelstein was a photographer with the photo agencies PIX and Black Star during the 1960s. He was a successful mainstream photojournalist, published in major media outlets. In August 1965, Nat was assigned by Life Magazine to photograph protesters in Washington DC. The protest – known as the Assembly of Unrepresented Persons—was designed to link opposition to the Vietnam War with support for voting rights to create a broader peace and freedom movement. Urged on by a young woman holding a “DEFEND FREEDOM” sign, the protesters tried nonviolently to enter the Capitol to present a “Declaration of Peace.” But police intervened and a melée ensued—with Nat Finkelstein there to capture every frame of it.
After the protest, Nat gave his negatives to a messenger from Life’s Washington office. Those negatives promptly disappeared. For almost 30 years they remained missing and this hole in the historical record persisted. But fortunately, the contact sheets of the images Nat captured that day were recently re-discovered. Below is Nat’s story, as he lived it.
Photographs and Story by Nat Finkelstein
First published by The Blacklisted Journalist, 2004
The Free Press is free only to the man who owns the presses. —A.J. Leibling, The Press
Liberty is murdered when the Free Press is Murdoched
It was the eighth of August ’65.
There’s hardly a person still alive who remembers that date and time and year when insurrections were here and the protest was clear: all comparisons stop there.
Read the Full Story at Miss Rosen
Photo: ©Nat Finkelstein