Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pulitzer Prize 1981 (Spot Photography)

Caution: This post contains graphic images of execution and mistreatment.

Pulitzer Prize for Spot Photography, 1981:

Photographer: Larry C Price

Photograph: Photographs from Liberia

  • Larry Price is an American photojournalist who has won two Pulitzers: the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for his images from Liberia, and the 1985 Pulitzer for Feature Photography for images from war-torn Angola and El Salvador.
  • Born in 1954, his journalism career has spanned three decades. 
  • Price was in Liberia in 1980 when a coup took place. Master Sergeant Samuel Doe and 15 other enlisted men of the Liberian Army slipped into the grounds of the mansion of the Liberian President, William Tolbert, gunned him down and declared that they were now in power. Price was one of the journalists at the press conference which followed. According to Price, Doe speak briefly, then the “Minister for Information” announced “there would be some executions down at the beach.” Thirteen of Tolbert’s Cabinet ministers were led through the streets of Monrovia to a beach nearby where they were executed for crimes of “high treason, rampant corruption and gross violation of human rights.”

Two men suspected of looting during the aftermath of the 1980 coup in Liberia are strip searched by Liberian army soldiers.

A Liberian army soldier stands ready to execute a former cabinet minister following the 1980 coup.

A Liberian execution squad fires a volley of shots, killing four former cabinet members of the Liberian government after the ministers were sentenced to death in the days following the 1980 coup.

A crowd gathers to view the bodies of 13 former cabinet members who were executed on a beach outside Monrovia, Liberia in 1980.

Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe is shown shortly after he took control of the Liberian government in 1980.

As regards Samuel Doe:
  • Doe disbanded the constitution and headed the country's military junta for the next five years. 
  • In 1985 he ordered an election and officially became the 21st President of Liberia. The election was marked by controversy as there was evidence of election fraud. 
  • Doe was supported by the US due to his anti-Soviet stance taken during the years of the Cold War prior to 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. This support declined in the late 1980’s as belts were tightened, the threat of Communism declined and the US became disenchanted with the corruption of Doe’s government. It began cutting off critical foreign aid to Doe. This, combined with the popular anger generated by Doe's favoritism toward his native Krahn tribe, placed him in a very precarious position.
  • A civil war began in December 1989. Doe was captured and overthrown, tortured and executed.

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