The Jim Peppler Southern Courier Photograph Collection

2 03 2010

News about the Jim Peppler Southern Courier Photograph Collection from the Alabama Department of Archives & History:

James H. “Jim” Peppler, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was a staff photographer of the weekly paper, The Southern Courier, from May 1965 to mid-1968. Founded by staff members of The Harvard Crimson, the Courier recruited a biracial staff of both students and professional journalists from many parts of the country, with the goal of providing objective reporting on civil rights and social issues. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, the Courier staff published 175 issues from July 1965 to December 1968.

For more information on the Southern Courier, please visit After leaving the Southern Courier, Mr. Peppler went on to enjoy a thirty-eight year career as staff photographer at Newsday (N.Y.) and is currently teaching photojournalism at both Adelphi and Stony Brook Universities.

During his three years working for the Southern Courier, Mr. Peppler took over 11,000 photographs documenting the civil rights movement, social conditions in central Alabama, the nightclub Laicos in Montgomery, and the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the next few years, ADAH staff will be working to digitize the entire collection and provide online access. We have begun with the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. More images will be added on at least a monthly basis.

It should be noted that the Southern Courier covered the Civil Rights Movement all over the South. Although headquartered in Montgomery, the newspaper established field workers in many Alabama and Mississippi cities. David Underhill was one such field worker/reporter who operated in Mobile, Alabama. Much like the digital collection, the newspaper offers a view and coverage of the CRM not seen by many.

The Collection is impressive but some part of me is irritated by CONTENTdm. Is it me or does CONTENTdm seem to disregard respect de fonds and respect for original order? In the digital world are these antiquated archival ideas? How important is context when it comes to access to collections?