DETROIT (WWJ) – WWJ celebrates Black History Month​ featuring those who are inspiring, impacting and making a difference. Today, City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas shines the spotlight on photographer and historian Dale Rich.

Rich began pursuing his passion while working as a pressman at The Detroit News.

“I’ve been retired for almost 10 years and I’ve had presentations and screenings,” he said. “I do more photography because I’m chronicling black life, and not just Detroit but nationally.”

His work has appeared in the New York Times, local newspapers and in magazines.

Rich is one of two photographers featured in an exhibit that wraps up this weekend at Michigan State University, called Silence is Betrayal.

“It was a Martin Luther King saying, one of his speeches, that silence is betrayal. So, my photographs relate to people breaking the silence,” he said.

So, what keeps Rich motivated?

“As we speak, book companies are erasing the history of African-Americans. And so what I try to do is, though my pictures, chronicle those things so that years from now we’ll have pictures and stories that relate to what African-Americans have done, through the eye of an African-American,” he said.

The Dale Rich Collection is housed at Wayne State University’s Walter P. Reuther Library with thousands upon thousands of images.

“I have 3,000 photographs of President Obama,” he said. “The last time I deposited photographs, it was 100,000 images.”

Rich also has 15 documentaries under his belt, some of them winning Emmy awards.


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