For Sale: An Extraordinary Collection of Photos Taken By (And Of!) the Legendary R.C. Hickman

In December 2007 we said farewell to R.C. Hickman, the Mineola native who became the staff photographer at the Dallas Star Post and whose astonishing body of work tells the story of black Dallas in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Most of his photos reside in the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin; you can browse some of them here as well, or buy a copy of his book. But I just came across an extraordinary cache of Hickman photos on eBay, many of which appear to be originals, as they bear the stamp from Hickman's studio located at 3313 Oakland. One is even autographed.

The photos are all being sold at buy-it-now prices ($50!) by Fort Worth-based Mid Century Gallery, whose Joseph Clayton just told me that they came from Hickman's personal collection and "are not photos found in the UT collection." Clayton says they were purchased three months ago "at an auction of his private collection." He said he's tried to sell them at auction but could find no takers; hence, the first-come-first-served offering.

There are photos of Martin Luther King Jr., Sammy Davis Jr. and boxer Curtis Cokes; another features Hickman and some jazz pals in Manhattan, and he's explained who's who on the back. You'll also find more everyday scenes -- like a car inspection or a shot of Stamp Day, the kind of photos that defined Hickman's work. As Barbara Jordan wrote in her intro to the book, "These are images of the ordinary lives of extraordinary people who succeeded in spite of all the obstacles in their path, and who eventually demanded and, in important ways, won their rights."

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