Friday, March 27, 2015

Nixon visits Richmond, Oct. 3, 1960 and the photographs of Malcolm O. Carpenter.

  Vice-President Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) on E. Main Street in Richmond, Virginia, October 3, 1960. Photo by Malcolm O. Carpenter, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographic Division.

About a month ago Dale Brumfield, Richmond author and journalist, tracked down Malcolm Carpenter, who attended Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) from 1958 to 1961. RPI was the forerunner to VCU on the Monroe Park campus. I had seen Malcolm's photographs in the RPI student newspaper, the Proscript, and had hoped one day to contact him. Dale, an excellent writer and chronicler of Richmond history, is also a great sleuth. He put me in touch with Malcolm after a few weeks of detective work. 

Malcolm, a native of Falls Church, Virginia, worked as a photographer both in high school and while he attended RPI. His work was often used by the United Press International (UPI) wire service.He would go on to serve in the Army in Europe, first as a soldier for 3 years, then as a government employee for nearly four decades. The entire time he worked as photographer, writer, and editor.Although now retired, he is still an active photographer and film-maker. 

 Photo by Malcolm O. Carpenter, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographic Division.

This image is probably the most well-known photograph that Malcolm took. It has appeared in many periodicals, books, and exhibits. It was published in LIFE magazine soon after the event. It shows Ruth Nelson Tinsley being being carried across Broad Street by two Richmond police officers on February 23, 1960. Tinsley was a bystander standing outside Thalhimers department store where a sit-in strike by Virginia Union University students was taking place. Tinsley refused to "move on" by the police and was arrested. Tinsley's husband, Jesse M. Tinsley, had been president of the Richmond chapter of the NAACP since 1931. Mrs.Tinsley was a senior adviser to the NAACP’s Youth Group and worked closely with her husband on civil-rights issues. She died in 1970. To read more about the sit-in event in Richmond and her arrest, click HERE. Read Dale's recent article about Malcolm and his famous photograph which appeared in VCU's Commonwealth Times HERE. Malcolm took a number of other images of Tinsley and protestors both inside and outside of Thalhimers that day. I am hoping to share those images on a web site at VCU in the future.

While the Tinsley image is well-known, these images of Richard Nixon in Richmond are not. Malcolm shared these images with me and gave me permission to use them on this site. The original photographs and negatives are held by the Library of Congress. In 1960, Nixon was Vice-President of the United States and was running for President as the Republican nominee against Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee. He spent the day in Richmond on October 3, 1960. Malcolm took these images for UPI.

Nixon speaking in Capitol Square, Oct. 3, 1960. 
Photo by Malcolm O. Carpenter, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographic Division.

Vice-President Nixon, Pat Nixon, and supporters, Capitol Square, Oct. 3, 1960.
 Photo by Malcolm O. Carpenter, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographic Division.

Nixon's remarks in Richmond are available online from the American Presidency Project. And a film showing television coverage from WSLS in Roanoke of Nixon campaigning in Richmond that day is available from the Virginia Center for Digital History at UVA.  

Thank you Malcolm for sharing these images.

- Ray

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