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Amateur photographer captures pivotal 20th Century moments

Resurrection City Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image caption Women cool off in the Reflecting Pool during the 1968 Resurrection City protest

Dr Darrell Crain Jr was a rheumatologist and lifelong Washingtonian who died in 1995. Now his photos of some of the 20th Century's defining moments are having a second life.

"He liked to take pictures," Alice Makl, Dr Crain's granddaughter says. "He was drawn to historical events."

This past December, Makl took a closet full of photo slides left after Crain died almost 20 years ago, scanned them and uploaded them online.

Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image caption From the March on Washington, 1963 (all images are part of DC Public Libary's Washingtoniana collection)
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family

Crain's photography - especially of the March on Washington in 1963 and of the destruction and grief in Washington DC after Martin Luther King Jr died - caught the attention of some historical and photography blogs.

The colour photos of everyday people in historical events struck a nerve. "This collection is not to be missed," Old Time DC wrote.

"Incredible," Ghosts of DC echoed.

Now Crain's photos will be part of DC Public Library's Washingtoniana collection.

Crain didn't start the hobby until his late 30s, Makl says, when he purchased his first colour camera.

Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image caption The aftermath of riots following Dr Martin Luther King Jr's assassination in 1968
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family

It was 1947 and photography was a more expensive hobby then, but his granddaughter says that didn't force him into a formal style of photography.

"He had a great eye for composition," she says. "he was interested in photographing people."

Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image caption Revellers build a human pyramid to fly the American flag during the US bicentennial in 1976

Makl says a set of photos from the 1968 Resurrection City protest on the National Mall are "particularly startling".

Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image caption Protesting during the summer Resurrection City encampment
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family

The protest was a multi-week encampment built on the Mall to call attention to the plight of poor people. It was originally organised by Martin Luther King Jr before his assassination.

Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family

But more than anything, Makl is glad her grandfather's four-decade long hobby is gaining recognition.

"It would please my grandfather so much to know there's been so much interest in his work," she says.

Image copyright DC Public Library/Crain Family
Image caption Dr Darrell Crain in Damascus, 1950

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