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The Bob Fitch Photography Archive Movements for Change

The Bob Fitch Photography Archive at Stanford

In 2013, the Stanford University Libraries acquired the photographic archive, including copyright, of activist photographer Bob Fitch of Watsonville, California. Fitch is best known for his work that captured iconic images of major figures of the Civil Rights Movement and peace and social justice movements, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, and Dorothy Day.

The archive contains over 200,000 images, primarily black and white photographs and negatives, spanning the period from 1965 to the present. The Stanford Libraries are working to display high quality image files of a select group of Fitch's images; these images from the Fitch Photography Archive are discoverable via SearchWorks, Stanford’s library catalog and SpotLight, the library's exhibit interface. Additional image galleries will be uploaded. The images are preserved in Stanford’s Digital Repository. For personal display and non-profit organizations, download and reproduction is free; commercial use requires commercial fees.

Bob Fitch has written: “My life has been immeasurably enriched by the people whose lives I have been privileged to document, especially the workers and leaders of this nation’s non-violent campaigns for peace & justice. I am grateful and honored that Stanford University has chosen to preserve and make public this valuable heritage.”

Bob Fitch's photographs feature prominently alongside other Stanford Library special collections that focus on the history of civil rights and social justice movements in twentieth century U.S. history , including the Stokely Carmichael-Lorna D. Smith collection, KZSU Project South interviews, the Dr. Huey P. Newton-Black Panther Party papers, the MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) records, the records of the CRLA (California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation), and the Bert Corona Papers.

Cesar Chavez during the Gallo march, 1975
Chicago IL 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. close-up
Yolanda King, Martin Luther King, III, & Martin Luther King Jr., Kelly Ingram Park (former site of fire hose and police dog attacks) Birmingham, AL 1966, voter education rally
Martin Luther King III (second from left), Martin Luther King Jr., Yolanda King, Hosea Williams, 1966, Gadsden AL