Beautiful Faces 1971: Camp Blue Star: Hendersonville, NC
By: Ken Solomon
About the Book
Beautiful Faces 1971 is a photographic journey back in time to the first interracial summer overnight camp in the South. Remember of course, in those days most children played, communicated, acted silly, and had sleep-overs only within their racial divide of either black or white.
So, this first overnight summer camp was special and unfamiliar, particularly for those southern communities that sponsored children to attend for a week.
The specialness of this event attracted Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, who attended with her children to participate in the camp itself.
This monumental first camp took place at Camp Blue Star in Hendersonville, NC, nestled away on 500 acres with a small lakeside village of children’s cabins spread around with trails and roads heading up towards the many fields and camp outbuildings up the mountainside. Idyllic for urban children to escape to and create a temporary new order of all children playing and enjoying each other, no matter what they looked like.
This unique series of photographs is a slice of history never before seen. It was for some a “Summer of Love” … an awakening … Hope!
About the Author
In 1971, Ken Solomon lived in New York City, trying to fulfill his dream of working as a photographer in glamorous New York, New York. Instead, he reconnected about a job with Camp Blue Star, an adventurous Jewish summer overnight camp deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. A place he had worked a number of summers before.
When Solomon arrived at camp, he found out there was to be a very special one-week camp for children from the urban south before the regular camp began. The first interracial summer overnight camp in the South, sponsored by southern urban community organizations. The rest is history. The camp experience was a wonderful, heartfelt time and a huge success.
Solomon’s life took him to Florida, and eventually California. He married, and had a daughter, Terry. He adopted John, a Korean boy, Kate, a black girl, Matthew, a black boy, and Cary, a black boy
Solomon’s life became raising a mixed race family and business, until his divorce and when he came out as a gay man. He then moved to San Francisco, worked at a gay-owned newspaper, The Bay Times, before working for the SF Weekly and Bay Guardian newspapers.
(2023, paperback, 30 pages)
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