And I Said No Lord is a chronicle in photographs and words of a twenty-one-year old white northerner's experience of segregated Mississippi in the summer of 1964.
On June 17, 1964, Joel Katz boarded a Greyhound bus in Hartford, Conneticut. He was bound for Jackson, Mississippi, the farthest he had ever been from home. He had with him a Honeywell Pentax HI-A camera, 28 and 55mm lenses of his own, a borrowed 135mm lens, money lent to him by both the Hillel and the Church of Christ at Yale University, and a written invitation to call on Frank Barber, Governor Paul Johnson's special assistant when he arrived. The morning's Jackson Daily News carried on its front page the FBI's ""missing"" poster for Andrew Goodman, James Cheyney, and Michael Schwerner, who had "disappeared".
Living out of YMCA's and private homes for the next ten weeks, Katz encountered people of both races, newspaper editors and ministers, James Silverman and Eudora Welty, and various leaders of White Citizens Councils throughout the state. He photographed Martin Luther King Jr. and James Abernathy, taught at a "freedom school", was harassed by Jackson police, and threatened with death in Vicksburg.
Moved and influenced by the social documentary photography of Walker Evans, Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Frank, Katzdocumented everyday episodes in what came to be known as Freedom Summer: "The summer of 1964 was a cusp, or a fulcrum, between the beginning of the end of one era and the beginning of another, a process of transition that would be too slow (and long overdue) for many, and too revolutionary (and unnecessary) for many others. Whites and Negroes had been living together in Mississippi for years. They were going to live together for many summers after 1964, although differently. I knew that the civil rights movement didn't need another photographer and/or reporter. I knew that Freedom Summer didn't need another observer or historian. I figured that beneath the fears, anger, frustration, and rhetoric of both sides were individual lives, white and black, worthy of witness."
"What I chose to create out of what I was privileged to see and experience is a document of the ordinary. This is a record of people in evolution, not revolution, of endurance and continuity.