Photographer recreates historic sexism and racism image

St. Augustine Portrait Photographer, Daniel Bagan’s portrait of Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes has been acquired as part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery permanent collection. More than 45 years since the original Dan Winn image appeared in Esquire magazine, their message has not dimmed with age.

With the acquisition of a new portrait into its collection, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery validates the historic significance and power of the re-enactment of their “Raised Fists” statement of equal rights for women and blacks.

“The moment was right, the women were dynamically engaged in their iconic stance, and the result was inspiring,” Bagan told Historic City News reporters in St Augustine. “Even decades later, their power and beauty show no sign of age, just wisdom reflected in a soft smile.”

Smithsonian officials have yet to announce plans for exhibiting the new portrait. In addition to the Smithsonian, Bagan’s portrait can be found in the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit “Beyond Suffrage: A Century of New York Women in Politics” October 2017 –June 2018, in Jacksonville at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library at the University of North Florida and in St. Augustine at the Plum Gallery.

For Pitman Hughes and Steinem, the new portrait featuring the defiant black power salute again helps open dialog on sexism and racism that is still vitally needed today, while demonstrating their continued hope for positive change.

“We must have difficult conversations, and it’s also important to talk about the learning, growing, friendship and joy that come from having them,” said Steinem. “So, it’s important to say that in real life, neither Dorothy nor I would give up – or be the same without – our nearly half-century of shared hopes, differences, laughter and friendship.”

The partnership between Steinem and Pitman Hughes began in the early 1970s as the pair took to the podium to discuss the importance of intersectional feminism. Together they founded Ms. Magazine and the Women’s Action Alliance. Decades later, the impact of their partnership has not waned. They remain an inspiration to activists across the country as they continue to push for racial and gender equality.

“The symbolism of a black and white woman standing together, demonstrating the black power salute is as important now as it was in the 70s,” said Pitman Hughes. “A hundred years of the suffrage movement has not eliminated racism, classism and sexism. Black women and white women can make this change together, but not until we acknowledge and resolve the racism problem that stands between us.”

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