Delta Debutantes

By  |  December 18, 2018
© D. Gorton © D. Gorton

Artist: D. Gorton

Project: White Southern Women 1969-1970

Description: From quiet scenes of home life to moments of public protest, D. Gorton’s photographs serve as a glimpse into one of the most turbulent and defining periods in the American South. In the winter of 1969, Gorton—an activist and photographer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the time—travelled throughout the region to document those who occupied either side of the civil rights movement, including the broad spectrum of sentiments in between. His photos attempt to condense the social climate of that era, applying particular emphasis on the role of white women and their varying attitudes of support and resistance toward actions for equality and justice. “I focused on women who patrolled the boundaries of the old order,” Gorton writes, “such as the ladies of the Delta Debutante Cotillion, the homecoming queens, and the supporters of George Wallace of Alabama.”


Eyes on the South is curated by Jeff Rich. The weekly series features selections of current work from Southern artists, or artists whose photography concerns the South. To submit your work to the series, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

D. Gorton is a photojournalist living in Carbondale, Illinois. He is a former Chief Photographer of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Managing Editor for graphics at the Cincinnati Enquirer. Gorton was on the staff of the New York Times, serving as the White House Photographer during much of the Carter and Reagan administrations.