|Joe Crachiola/Courtesy of The Macomb Daily|
In late July 1973, Joseph Crachiola was wandering the streets of Mount Clemens, Mich.,, a suburb of Detroit, with his camera. As a staff photographer for the Macomb Daily, he was expected to keep an eye out for good feature images — "those little slices of life that can stand on their own."
The slice of life he caught that day was a picture of five young friends in a rain-washed alley in downtown Mount Clemens. And what distinguishes it are its subjects: three black children, two white ones, giggling in each others' arms.
"It was just one of those evenings," Crachiola remembers. "I saw these kids — they were just playing around. And I started shooting some pictures of them. At some point, they saw me and they all turned and looked at me and struck that pose that you see in the picture. It was totally spontaneous. I had nothing to do with the way they arranged themselves."
This week, Crachiola, who now lives in New Orleans, posted the vintage photo on his Facebook page.
"For me, it still stands as one of my most meaningful pictures," he wrote in his post. "It makes me wonder... At what point do we begin to mistrust one another? When do we begin to judge one another based on gender or race? I have always wondered what happened to these children. I wonder if they are still friends."
After several days when the world seemed to be reduced to one big argument about race, the elegantly simple photo hit a nerve — in a good way.
After his Sunday post, Crachiola's Facebook page blew up — as many as 100,000 page views. Six thousand "likes" and thousands of shares. The Macomb Daily reprinted the photo on its Web page and sent someone to the archives to help identify the children, who are now middle-aged.
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