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Honoring Our Pulitzer Prize Winning Graduate


New York Institute of Photography graduate, Matthew Lewis Jr., was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 “for his photographs in color and black and white.” Lewis had begun working for the The Washington Post ten years earlier. And this Pulitzer was historical for two reasons: (1) It was the first Pulitzer Prize ever given to a portfolio of color pictures, and (2) Lewis was the first photographer at The Post to have ever been awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

Lewis, who also attended Howard University and the University of Pittsburgh, embodies the photographic principle of making the image express something within the photographer; Lewis covered—to a great extent—the Civil Rights movement and the work Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While on assignment to photograph one of Dr. King’s appearances in a church, Lewis remembers getting “palpitations of the heart . . . and when he [Dr. King] raised his arm, and the light cascaded up his arm, right up to his fingertips, I went ‘click’ and I captured—on film—my personal feelings of Martin Luther King.”

These days, long after his retirement from The Washington Post, the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, the Thomasville Times, and Potomac, Lewis has started a non-profit venture to produce an educational documentary “that will trace 100 years of historical photographs.” His love affair with the camera is far from over.

To get in touch with the Matthew Lewis Legacy project - and the master photographer himself - write to PO Box 2158, Thomasville, NC 27361-2158; phone: 336.472.6100; email:



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