Martin Luther King Jr. by Mural

Photographer Camilo José Vergara captures varying portrayals of the civil rights leader in urban areas across the United States

Camilo José Vergara began photographing art in poor urban areas in the 1970s. He soon realized that one of the most prevalent figures in the artworks was Martin Luther King Jr. (Camilo José Vergara)


Martin Luther King Jr murals
(Maura McCarthy)
“Martin Luther King Jr. was a lot more courageous than we are,” says Vergara. “But he is us, in the sense that he’s Mexican, he’s Latino, he’s Mexican-Indian, he’s Chinese, he can even look like Clark Gable. It kind of depends on the neighborhood where he gets painted. And I think that’s a real sign that he’s permeated society.”

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