This is one of my most famous photographs. It was taken in an old two-room school near Rockingham, North Carolina, during a summer in the mid-1960s. An innovative program by the North Carolina Fund had set up a daycare for local children. The program went on to serve as a model for America’s domestic Peace Corps. Suzy had left her comfortable home in New York to head south, join a group of youth leaders, and to help others. She taught at an abandoned school that the county allowed her group to use, and some wonderful things happened there that summer. The students immediately liked Suzy and trusted her leadership.
I saw a young boy coming over to Suzy––he had tripped and fallen, and he needed some reassurance. Suzy pulled him up on her knees and they talked while looking into each other’s eyes, and I shot my Nikon. I don’t think anyone even heard the shutter click, but something clicked inside of me. I knew it was the best I had ever taken.
I thought back to what Suzy had said about eyes that can understand and that speak, and I knew what they said. “I care.”
This picture was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and published in many magazines including Our State: Down Home in North Carolina.”
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