This summer, PBS Black Culture Connection will examine over 70 years of civil rights movements for justice through the lens of powerful photography. 

The project will feature amateur and professional photographers tied to iconic images from an array of movements including Civil Rights, Black Power, LGBT and #BlackLivesMatter and go "behind the lens" of their photos to capture personal, lesser-told stories of the photographers, their images, and the events that changed-- and are still changing–– history.

One of our partners, Cowbird, is looking for talented and diverse journalists with a background in audio, writing and photography to help develop these stories. They want creative producers who can dig deep to tell a story, and especially encourage young black journalists to apply.



The Civil Rights Movement is often framed through a small window between the 1950s and 60s. But its work began long before this influential period and is still alive and well today. Recent events in cities like Ferguson, Baltimore, and Madison have given new life to the movement.  And, once again, photographers are playing a crucial role in bringing the movement’s message to the world. 

But photographs conceal as much as they reveal. Who is the person behind the camera? What did they experience as part of the moments and movements they documented?

Help tell the unheard stories of the photographers who brought the iconic -- and lesser known, but still emblematic -- images and narratives of civil rights movements to the world.

This is a chance to add nuance, color and complexity to an often oversimplified narrative. We want stories that will surprise us, humanize the brave people behind the cameras, and take us deeper into a history we may think we already know.



Cowbird is now accepting applications from audio and multimedia producers through midnight on July 7th, 2015.

  • Each producer will conduct audio interviews (in person or with a tape sync) with two pre-selected photographers, each of whom will have documented movements for justice between the 1950s - today. Cowbird will provide contact information. Producers can also suggest photographers for consideration.
  • Using images from the photographer’s archives, the producer will create at least four 2-3 minute audio slideshows using the Cowbird platform that will live on Each piece will be a close-up look at a particular image or series of images that illuminate some aspect of the struggle for black freedom and justice in America.
  • Each piece will be accompanied by a 200-300 word introductory essay to provide context and will be displayed as part of a visual collection at both Cowbird and PBS Black Culture Connection.
  • Grantees will be awarded a $800 stipend.
  • Producers will work with editing oversight and logistical support from Cowbird and PBS during the project.
  • Producers will have a story example to work from in guiding their work.
  • Rough draft of collections will be due August 10th. Final drafts will be due August 15th.
  • Producers will have about three weeks to do interviews and craft their stories.



  • To tell a more nuanced and complex story of civil rights movements through its images and visual storytellers.
  • To spark a national conversation about civil rights movements over time -- right up to now -- and how it has been represented (and misrepresented) in media throughout history.
  • To help empower the next generation of diverse storytellers.



Send Cowbird your resume, examples of your past work, and a cover letter that explains why you’d be a great candidate for the project. Also suggest a civil rights photographer you would want to interview. Deadline is July 7th. Please direct questions and applications to:

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