David recently linked to a Vanity Fair slideshow of what they judged were the top 25 news photos ever. Some of the photos were very familiar, such as the lone man standing up against the tanks in Tiananmen Square. But others I didn't remember seeing, including the opening shot, a horrific photo of a lynching in Indiana in 1930.
One of the most difficult photos to view was of Dorothy Counts, a 15-year-old girl who became one of four black students to attend the all-white Harding High School in Charlotte. The photo shows her walking into school on her first day, and seeing the faces of the kids in the photo is just chilling. I felt like I had to know what happened to this poor girl.
The bad news is that she only stayed at Harding High for four days before the harassment became too much. The good news is that it seems like she did well in the end, becoming Vice President for a group called Child Care Resources, which helps child care centers improve.
I found a fantastic article in Charlotte's News & Observer that found some of the boys in the photograph and interviewed them. (I think they used this second photo at the left to explain who was whom.) "We were mean," says one of them now. "Just mean boys. No other way to say it."
The Observer makes another great point in the article: Where are all the adults? No one - no police, who were on site, nor principal or teachers came out to help Counts (or, for that matter, Dr. Edwin Thompkins, the family friend escorting her in the photo, whose angry, anguished stare is just as heartbreaking).
The Charlotte Observer says that when expatriate James Baldwin saw this photo, he decided he had to move back to the U.S. Billy Graham and Steve Allen also offered support.
I don't know how you live through that and move on to live a positive life, but the Observer writes that "she has forgotten some of that day and forgiven most of the rest." They asked her what she sees when she looks at these photos now.
"All of these people are behind me," she said. "They did not have the courage to get up in my face."
Could Dorothy Counts have been given a more appropriate name?
I love this photo of Kristin Scott Thomas, which was on the cover of the NY Times' arts section this weekend. Outside of Annette Bening, Helen Mirren and Anjelica Huston, (the last two are both much older - KST is 47)), I can't think of many other working actresses who actually look their age... and KST looks all the more stunning for it. (Compare her to, say, Meg Ryan, who is only a year younger and just looks absurd.)
I always thought KST was beautiful, but in an untouchable, behind-glass kind of way, but perhaps some of the lines in her face represent cracks in that glass - something more human and real. Watching the Times' slideshow of her career was like watching someone evolve from a general beauty to a specific one - one that reveals more of who she is and the life she's led.