Ben Martin was the first photographer Time hired for the New York Bureau, and during the next 33 years he shot some of the 20th century’s great stories for Time and Life. Many of his photo essays for Time were cover stories, including the 25th anniversary celebration of D-Day in Normandy and the 40th anniversaries of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, which included a portrait of the Japanese pilot who led the attack. His three-day, non-stop coverage of President JohnF. Kennedy’s funeral ran as a photo essay and cover for Life.
He was intrepid. He covered the civil war in Mozambique from both sides, he joined an arctic expedition to the North Pole, and perhaps his most celebrated feat was walking backwards in front of Martin Luther King for most of the Selma-to-Montgomery march for civil rights. “Martin was the best shield Dr. King could have,” Chief U.S. Marshall John Doar said later, “because he was always in front of [King], photographing his every move.”
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