Reviews of Let Freedom Ring

“[T]he images are extraordinary—an intimate close-up of two men inside a car, Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins…as they are being driven…to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional leaders. A close-up of a young black woman in a newly pressed check shirt, shorts and sneakers, sitting on a railing, her hands on it to steady her, her head thrown back as she listens to the speaker…. An American soldier, standing over a black woman dressed in her Sunday best, lying in the grass on her back, having fainted from the heat…. James Baldwin, standing on the Capitol steps and turning to welcome someone; Robert F. Kennedy, his tie askew, looking concerned as he rests his hands on the base of a bust of the head of Abe Lincoln….”

Dan Rattiner
Dan’s Papers
September 6, 2013

“A new book of never-before-published photographs offers readers an intimate glimpse of a pivotal day 50 years ago in America’s civil rights movement…. In the foreword, Marian Wright Edelman wrote, ‘We joined the throngs of others holding hands, singing, crying during the inspiring speeches, and believing with all of our hearts that the America envisioned in the Declaration of Independence could be realized with the tireless work of our hands and feet and voices and votes and faith.’ Edelman’s words echo the spirit captured in Tretick’s photos and Kelley’s retelling of one of the life-changing events of the 20th century.”

Vincent T. Davis
San Antonio Express-News
August 29, 2013

“The [March on Washington] was covered by international media (over 1,600 press passes were issued), including  the late Stanley Tretick….  Alongside Kelley’s essays describing the events of that day and excerpts from remarks by civil rights leaders, Tretick’s photos provide a historic record of an amazing day in Washington’s history. I was there….  August 28, 1963, was a sea change of American history in which all human beings can take pride. This book by Kelley and Tretick will touch people who were there, and inform those who weren’t.”

Ronald Goldfarb
Washington Independent Review of Books
August 26, 2013

“Kelley has revisited her Tretick files for a visual chronicle of a seminal moment in U.S. history…. The book, which features more than 100 never-before-published photographs, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the civil rights demonstration by more than 250,000 people at the National Mall on Aug. 28, 1963. Tretick’s lens captured the events as they unfolded with candid photos of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr….and the faces of the thousands of marchers, from activists to ordinary people.”

Celeste Williams
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram
August 25, 2013

“To say that I was overcome by emotions after reading Let Freedom Ring: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the March on Washington would be an understatement…. The eloquence…commanded my attention from beginning to end. Kitty Kelley’s essays provide context for stunning…photographs by Tretick…. Intimate portraits of many civil rights leaders — including A. Philip Randolph, Mathew Ahmann, John Lewis, Whitney Young, Walter Reuther, Rabbi Joachim Prinz and Martin Luther King Jr. — along with excerpts from their speeches offer a cohesive narrative of the day’s mission…. Tretick’s photos capture men in white shirts with skinny ties and women in their Sunday best trying to stay cool near the reflecting pool.”

Itasca O. Wiggins
Chicago Tribune
August 23, 2013

Let Freedom Ring is an entirely different book [than Capturing Camelot], although the structure and the process is the same. It’s a kinetic look at the march but also a chronicle of the civil rights movement and its leaders, more journalistic in nature, a kind of documentary….  Tretick’s photos have the look of news, of in the moment. They are caught up close.  They show the multitudes carrying a message, or rather hundreds of messages…. The photos — and the text by Kelley, and the many verbatim speeches, including the King speech — appear both direct and art-free and all the more powerful for their modest qualities…. Kitty Kelley, for ensuring that Tretick’s photos would be seen in this powerful way, is to be commended.”

The Georgetowner
August 21, 2013

“Coffee table books are usually more ornament than depth charge, but Let Freedom Ring, celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley’s sober presentation of previously unpublished photos by Look magazine staffer Stanley Tretick falls into the latter category. Turn to any page and you’re likely to be moved – and reminded of work yet to be done, as Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman manages to do so effectively in her introduction. Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom, Kelley’s lean text, respectfully subordinated to the largely joyous, strikingly candid images by her old friend Tretick, vividly evokes a time when this nation was pregnant with both conflict and promise…. Tretick would be proud of his friend.”

Carlo Wolff
Christian Science Monitor
August 14, 2013

“Kelley’s friend Stanley Tretick was a leading photojournalist in the 1960s. After his death in 1999, she discovered Tretick’s collection of photographs of the march. Kelley…has published the photos and penned the text accompanying them in Let Freedom Ring: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the March on Washington.  Photos show tens of thousands by the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall with their feet dipped in water…. Blacks and whites of all ages sit side by side on the grass…. Perhaps the book’s most revealing photos are those Tretick shot of the ‘Big Ten,’ as the march leaders were known, standing in the office of then-Senate [Minority] Leader Everett Dirksen. The tension in the room is palpable on the page.”

Stephanie Green
Bloomberg News
August 14, 2013

“Stanley Tretick was one of those old-school photographers…who found himself at the intersection of time and circumstance.  His photographic perch in Washington put him squarely into the most significant social movement of 20th century America, the civil rights crusade…. [Let Freedom Ring] captures moments [of the March on Washington] both intimate, such as the Rev. Eugene Carson Blake of the National Council of Churches and Roy Wilkins of the NAACP comparing hats, and public, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other speakers preparing to take the march’s first steps.”

Christopher Quinn
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 14, 2013

“Required reading”

Billy Heller
New York Post
August 10, 2013

“Kelley puts words to previously unpublished images by veteran photographer Tretick to tell the story of the gathering, from the arrival of black and white marchers by the busload to the famously moving ‘I Have a Dream’ speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Readers can see the passion and pride in the faces on these pages. the joy of the people cooling their feet in the Reflecting Pool, and, with a little effort, they can almost hear the cries from the crowd of ‘Amen, brother, Amen!’ at the words of speaker after speaker.  The book will be a nostalgia trip for all who lived through the period and a perfect introduction to a seminal moment for younger generations.  Fine photos, concise text, including excerpts from the remarks of the day, and a solid view of the Kennedy administration dragged into the American future.”

Kirkus Reviews
July 1, 2013

“Among the images [by Tretick] are marchers dressed in their Sunday best despite the oppressive heat, throngs of people with flags and signs insisting on equal rights and full employment, and Martin Luther King Jr. standing on the back porch of an apartment building in Chicago, where he came to protest segregated housing. Kelley provides narrative background and context, including the roles of such iconic figures as Robert Kennedy, Roy Wilkins, James Baldwin, and A. Philip Randolph.  This inspirational book also includes excerpts of speeches by King and others.”

Vanessa Bush
July 1, 2013

“This book commemorates the 50th anniversary of  the March on Washington…on August 28, 1963, to demand comprehensive civil rights legislation. [P]hotojournalist Stanley Tretick’s arresting…photos [are] collected here for the first time. [The] photographs are a veritable who’s who of civil rights icons, including Martin Luther King, Jr…. Tretick was a master at capturing his subjects with depth and humanity. There’s J.F.K. leaning out of the back of his convertible to talk with a young African-American girl and greeting African-American supporters; a beatific-looking Martin Luther King Jr.; and comedian Dick Gregory telling jokes in a smoky club. Some of the freshest shots are of the crowd itself…. The book is a welcome marker of a seminal moment in American history.”

Publishers Weekly
June 10, 2013