There’s a tiny detail in Gordon Parks’ gorgeous—and heavily repurposed—photo of a woman and her niece standing below a neon “Colored Entrance” sign at a theater in elegant dresses that is rarely mentioned. The strap on Joanne Thornton Wilson’s slip is dangling off her shoulder and exposed beneath her short sleeve.
It may seem like an insignificant element in a work that captures the crucial issue of segregation in 1956 Alabama, but any Black woman who’s walked the South in any era knows that the utmost value is placed on dignity and appearance, including in the face of adversity.
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