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MLK personal photographer donates archive to UT

Award-winning photojournalist Flip Schulke, who documented the events and people of the 1960s and 1970s and took numerous photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr., is placing his collection at The University of Texas at Austin.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Award-winning photojournalist Flip Schulke, who documented the events and people of the 1960s and 1970s and took numerous photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr., is placing his collection at The University of Texas at Austin.

The collection, which includes more than 300,000 original images — 10,000 of which are of King and the Southern Civil Rights Movements — will be housed in UT’s Center for American History. An exhibit of approximately 60 photographs of King and his family will open Sept. 24 to coincide with the unveiling of the University’s MLK statue. It will run until March 17, 2000.

The University commissioned the 12-foot-tall bronze sculpture of the late Rev. King almost two years ago. The noon unveiling on the East Mall of the campus will highlight a day of special activities, including a lecture by the sculptors, Jeffrey Varilla and Anna Koh-Varilla, and a celebration march. Schulke will deliver a lecture on “Remembering Dr. King: Photographing the Civil Rights Movement” from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. in Thompson Conference Center 1.110. The MLK celebration continues through the weekend with UT Black Alumni Reunion activities.

“This is an incredibly important collection of photographs — it constitutes the largest single archive of photographic images of Dr. King and his family,” said Dr. Don Carleton, director of the Center for American History. “Dr. King allowed Mr. Schulke to take candid photos of his daily life, and many have never been seen by the public. It is a major acquisition for the University. It will be an outstanding research and teaching resource for our students and faculty.”

Schulke also is acclaimed for his photographs of Fidel Castro, President John F. Kennedy, James Hoffa, Elvis Presley, Pope Paul and MuhammadAli/Cassius Clay. He was a leading innovator in underwater photography and took photographs in other arenas, including auto racing and space and astronautics. Schulke’s photographs have been printed in numerous magazines, including Life, National Geographic and Ebony.

Schulke also was famous for trying new ideas — photographing water skiiers from underwater; President Kennedy in a crowd of faces; and Mrs. Gordon Cooper against the trail of Gemini’s path.

Much of Schulke’s work is documented in three of his books — Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Documentary from Montgomery to Memphis; King Remembered; and He Had a Dream. Schulke was the only photographer allowed into the King home following the assassination. He was one of three photographers allowed into Ebenezer Baptist Church to make a pictorial record of King’s funeral. It was during the funeral that he made a close-up photograph of the grieving Coretta King, which Life ran as its cover, leading the magazine’s coverage of the assassination aftermath.

Schulke also published Underwater Photography for Everyone, and his book on Muhammad Ali, The Miami Years, is due out in November. He also is finishing a retrospective book of his photographic career and a book on the history of the Berlin Wall.

Schulke is the recipient of the 1995 Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism, which is given annually by the National Press Photographers Association, Eastman Kodak Co. and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. The award recognized Schulke for his documentation of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Center for American History is a special collections library, archive and museum that facilitates research and sponsors programs on the historical development of the United States. Its divisions include the Winedale Historical Center, near Round Top, Texas, and the Sam Rayburn Library and Museum in Bonham, Texas. The Flip Schulke Collection will join the center’s extensive media archive, which includes the papers of Walter Cronkite, Joseph Wershba and Andy Rooney; the collections of photographers Russell Lee and David Hume Kennerly; and the newspaper morgues of the New York Herald Tribune and The New York Times.

For additional information, please contact Alison Beck, 512-495-4515 or by e-mail at al.beck@mail.utexas.edu.