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R.I.P. photographer Don Hogan Charles, his iconic Malcolm X photo will live on forever

December 26, 2017

Another message of condolence to the family of an icon, this time photographer Don Hogan Charles, whose iconic images of Black Civil Rights leader Malcolm X and 1960s Harlem capture the true grit, grace, and atmosphere of a pivotal time in the Black community, in places where his White contemporaries didn’t care to shoot or couldn’t shoot.

Charles was the first Black photographer to be hired by the New York Times where he shot everyone from society figures to the United Nations. He is also responsible for the iconic photograph of Malcolm X holding a shotgun, taken for Ebony Magazine, and the haunting image of Coretta Scott King staring blankly into space at her husband’s funeral.

“When you’re a new kid at The New York Times and you needed a big brother, he was all of that,” said Michelle Agins, who met Mr. Charles while she was a freelance photographer in Chicago and he was working in The Times’s bureau there. “He was definitely the guy to have on your team. He wouldn’t let other people bully you.”

Charles never married and had no immediate family at the time of his passing, outside of three nieces and one nephew with whom he was close to.

Check out just a few of Charles’ historic shots, here.