Civil Rights Style

August 1, 2009

Lately I’ve been looking at a lot of old images from the civil rights movement of the 1950’s – 1960’s. I’m obsessed with how stylish everyone was. Below are some of my favorites.

civilbayard-rustin-with-martin-luther-king-jr-in-1956-d1

A sartorial savvy Martin Luther King Jr. in this 1956 photograph with fellow civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. I love Dr. King's flecked blazer and skinny tie.

civillittle_rock_nine_students

Nine students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. I love the dresses and glasses on the ladies and the gentlemen look great in their white oxford.

civil martinlutherking and corettascottking

Dr. King and Coretta Scott King dressed to the nines! Coretta Scott King's feather hat is incredible!

Protesting in style - Alabama 1965 - The hats, suits, and ties are great!

March in Alabama 1965 - The hats, suits, and ties are great!

Sammy Davis Jr. and Roy Wilkins at the 1963 march in Washington D.C.

Sammy Davis Jr. and Roy Wilkins at the 1963 march in Washington D.C.

civilHeston_Baldwin_Brando_Civil_Rights_March_1963

Writer James Baldwin with Charlton Heston and Marlon Brando at the 1963 March. These Gents look amazing in their sack suits.

Bayard Rustin in a great skinny with AWESOME black rim specs

Bayard Rustin in a great skinny knit tie with amazing black rim specs

Malcolm X - 1964; great skinny tie and tie clip!

Malcolm X - 1964; great skinny tie and tie clip. I also love the horn rim frames

civilpoitier_belafonte_heston_civil_rights_march_1963

Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and Charlton Heston at the 1963 march looking great in sack suits and white oxford. The pocket squares are a great touch.

civilPH2007122101527

Amazing style! I just love the sack suits and hats.

Jackie Robinson at the 1963 March on Washington

Jackie Robinson at the 1963 March on Washington

civil_rights_movement

I love that EVERYONE was in a suit and tie!

John Hope Franklin protesting in style!

John Hope Franklin protesting in a suit and tie

JFKandTanner

John Fitzgerald Kennedy meeting with civil rights leaders at the White House - June 21'st 1963. More great sack suits!

I love the old television set!

I love the old television set!

kennedyp__p_chair_small

The P & P Chair Company in Asheboro, North Carolina announced last week that they will be closing their factory after 82 years in business. The P & P Chair Company was founded by W. C. Page Sr. and a friend, Arthur E. Presnell in 1926. P & P made it’s claim to fame in the early 1960’s with the creation of the authentic “Kennedy Rocker”. John F. Kennedy chose the chair by recommendation of his physician, Dr. Janet Travell. The chair was upholstered by the White House upholsterer Larry Arata.

File Photo/News & Record)

Chairs stacked and curing at the P & P Chair Co. factory in Asheboro, North Carolina (Image: File Photo/News & Record)

Kennedy in his P & P Chair Company Authentic "Carolina Rocker"

Kennedy in his P & P Chair Company Authentic "Carolina Rocker" (from the LIFE archive)

I was shocked to hear this news because I grew up with this chair at my parent’s home. My parents had this chair created and upholstered for them directly from Larry Arata and his wife. Thanks Mom for sending me the pictures of my family’s Kennedy Rocker below.

The Hart Family's "Kennedy Rocker" from the P & P Chair Company with Upholstry from Larry Arata

The Hart Family's "Kennedy Rocker" from the P & P Chair Company with Upholstry by Larry Arata

Plaque on the back of my family's rocker

Plaque on the back of my family's rocker

Larry Arata's custom tag on the back of the chair

Larry Arata's custom tag on the back of the chair

Larry Arata's card underneath the arm

Larry Arata's card underneath the arm