Original photograph of Nat King Cole at the piano, 1956

Nat King Cole (subject)

Paris: Keystone, Circa 1956. Vintage borderless photograph of Nat King Cole at the piano in 1956. With a printed French mimeo snipe detailing an attack in Birmingham, Alabama affixed to the verso, along with the stamp of Keystone photo.

Cole, who was born in Montgomery, Alabama, was performing at the Municipal Auditorium for an all-white audience in Birmingham on April 10, 1956 when a group of white supremacists rushed the stage and attacked him. The violent incident prompted Cole to remark, "I can't understand it [...] I have not taken part in any protests. Nor have I joined an organization fighting segregation. Why should they attack me?" His statement garnered widespread criticism from the NAACP, who believed Cole's performances for all-white venues were detrimental to their mission. The group's condemnation eventually led Cole to boycott segregated venues, becoming an active member of the civil rights movement in the ensuing decades.

4.75 x 6.5 inches. Near Fine.

[Book #152462]