The Pulitzer Prize

Stanley Forman has received three Pulitzer Prizes for photography. Below are images of two of them.

A 19-year-old woman and her 2-year-old goddaughter fall from a collapsed fire escape on July 22, 1975

Fire Escape Collapse

On July 22, 1975 in Boston, a 19-year-old and her 2-year-old goddaughter were trapped in a burning building. A firefighter, Robert O’Neill, shielded them from the flames as an aerial ladder inched closer. Then the fire escape collapsed. Although the woman died from her injuries, the infant survived. Fire Escape Collapse circulated around the world. The photo led to the passage of new fire escape legislation across the country. It provided Stanley Forman with his first of two Pulitzer Prizes for spot news photography.

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Soiling of Old Glory

The photograph depicts a white teenager, Joseph Rakes, about to assault black lawyer and civil-rights activist Ted Landsmark with a flagpole bearing the American flag. It was taken in Boston on April 51976, during a protest against court-ordered desegregation busing. It ran on the front page of the Herald American the next day, and also appeared in several newspapers across the country. It won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Spot Photography.

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"Louis Masur has written an indispensable history about an unforgettable image. With admirable empathy and grace, he reveals why racial conflict in modern America is both so compelling and so difficult to resolve."

-Micheal Kazin, author of a Godley Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryant