Photographs and paranoia

There’s more evidence today that America during the Cold War wasn’t really the flag we saluted and the home of the free.

The Associated Press reports it’s obtained copies of the FBI file on the late photographer Milton Rogovin.

It wasn’t so much the paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover as much as the confirmation that Americans were enlisted to spy on Americans, according to the story:

“We as a family were horribly distressed that so many of the people that we felt were good friends turned out to be agents,” Mark Rogovin, a Chicago activist and mural artist, told The AP by phone.

Born in New York City in 1909, Rogovin moved to Buffalo in 1938 to practice as an optometrist. He quickly became politically active, organizing an optical workers union, a move that would cost him his job at the time, and attending Communist Party meetings at a Buffalo union hall.

It was nearly 20 years later, in 1957, that Rogovin realized he could accomplish the same type of awareness-raising of social and economic inequities with photography, his family said. That began when a music professor friend, William Tallmadge, invited him to photograph services at an African-American storefront church

Left unanswered is this question: Was Rogovin considered a threat because he attended Communist Party meetings, or because he was able to show working poor America to America?

  • Sadly, I think the answer is “Yes”

  • This is NOT lucy

    “There’s more evidence today that America during the Cold War wasn’t really the flag we saluted and the home of the free.”

    America is now the home of a fist full of elite.

    “It wasn’t so much the paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover as much as the confirmation that Americans were enlisted to spy on Americans, according to the story:”

    The coined term today is ‘Drones’.

    Live by the sword and die by the sword.

    It’s a nice video though.

    Maybe I will begin with photo shooting only I will photo ‘The chosen ones and the new colonization much like- Israel and Palistine- America’ which will depict the subtle and systematic neighborhood sanitization by class.

  • Jim Shapiro

    “Was Rogovin considered a threat because he attended Communist Party meetings, or because he was able to show working poor America to America?”

    Instead of either/or, how about both/and?

  • Jim Shapiro

    And then there’s Hoover’s anti-Semitism.

  • This is NOT lucy

    “It was nearly 20 years later, in 1957, that Rogovin realized he could accomplish the same type of awareness-raising of social and economic inequities with photography, his family said.”

    Yes, and the mafia and the CIA found photographs to be a useful tool in turning the tables on that super FBI agent, J Edgar Hoover.