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Poor People’s Campaign

Poor People's Campaign 1968: Resurrection City from Bennett on Vimeo.

MLK 50

The Rev. Dorothy Wells. photo by Laura Jones

The Rev. Dorothy Wells.
photo by Laura Jones


In April, my son Bennett and I joined thousands of others in Memphis to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many of the events took place at the National Civil Rights Museum, a complex of three buildings – the main museum with extensive displays;; the Lorraine Motel, where Dr King was assassinated; and the former rooming house where James Earl Ray took his deadly aim.

photo of Laura Jones by Bennett Jones Phillips

Laura Jones at the National Civil Rights Museum

Bennett Jones Phillips in front of the Lorraine Motel

Bennett Jones Phillips in front of the Lorraine Motel

Displays show a comprehensive history of the American civil rights movement. Today, we can learn much from this history and from raising awareness about the devastation caused by poverty, hate, and war.  De-escalation of violence, and reducing poverty is as necessary today as when Martin Luther King began raising the awareness of connecting one issue to another.


Laura Jones with one of her anti-poverty photographs

Laura Jones with one of her anti-poverty photographs



For me, another highlight of the week’s events was A Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation and Unveiling of a Historical Marker. The Service took place inside the Calvary Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Dorothy Wells. photo by Laura Jones

The Rev. Dorothy Wells.
photo by Laura Jones

Rev. Dorothy Wells, shown here, wrote the Litany of Prayers for Forgiveness, Healing, and Reconciliation.

Slaves sold on the church site were acknowledged by name where names were known.  A plaque was unveiled on the property correcting past misinformation and acknowledging past injustices.

It was an underreported event, but one that other cities and other faith communities can learn from. It is a positive step towards healing some of the deep wrongs and hurts caused by slavery and racism.


Bishop with new historic sign, Memphis

Bishop with new historic sign, Memphis


1888 Family Photos

I’ve been researching my family history with a particular interest in the photographs taken by family members. Some that particularly interest me are by Lyman N Cary. (He was married to my grandfather’s sister.)

In 1888, Cary used nitrate negatives and a Kodak Camera #1 and took photographs of Mandan, North Dakota. The negatives were among our  family collection. So far, we don’t know who is the subject of the photographs. When  Toronto photographer Marco Buonocore realized they were nitrate and explosive, he stored them in a freezer and then under careful conditions,  printed the photographs using fiber based silver gelatine paper. They look fantastic.

50 years in Canada

It’s been 50 years since I came to Canada, newly married to John Phillips.He attempted for months to get  conscientious objector status so that he could serve for two years doing non-military service. This process involved defining his personal definition of a supreme being and proving his beliefs with public evidence. He wasn’t successful, so we dropped out of the Quaker college that we were attending and moved to Canada.

(See the video Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War for background about the Vietnam War and Canada’s support to both the war and the war resisters. In 2016, the  film, directed by Andy Blicq,  won the Best History Documentary in the Canadian Screen Awards I am one of the featured interviews with photos by John and me.)    http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/vietnam-canadas-shadow-war

We settled on Baldwin Street in Toronto and got our first jobs creating the Baldwin Street Club with the Company of Young Canadians teaching photography and writing to children with learning disabilities and teaching teenagers at Point Blank School, an alternative school.

Toronto, 1968

It was Centennial year, 1967, a very optimistic time. It felt that almost any idea that we would try would work. We started the Baldwin Street Gallery of Photography. The first exhibition was children’s photography with their poetry and stories displayed.  We also co-founded Snowflake  Day Care  Centre for Baldwin neighbourhood children.

The gallery moved to several locations and left  Baldwin St in 1980.

Six Of The Best – Photographic History

On June 21st, I’ll be one of six speakers at the Photographic Historical Society meeting My topic is the history of the Baldwin Street Gallery.My involvement with the Photographic Historical Society began in the 1970’s as a charter member. In the past few years, I have again gotten involved having a table at the photo fairs and attending meetings. It’s well worth becoming a member.  The magazine is   informative and friendly. http://phsc.ca

 June 21,  7:00pm FREE,

North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St , Toronto (conveniently indoor walk from North York Centre subway)

Feature in PhotoEd Magazine

PhotoEd magazine’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue published a 10 page feature article written by Laura Jones called Ten Women in Canadian Photo History Everyone Should Know About.

Laura chose some of her favourite Canadian Women Photographers to include in PhotoEd.  The topic of  early women photographers in Canada and around the world  has interested her for decades, having earlier curated an exhibition, Rediscovery: Canadian Women Photographers for the London Regional Art Gallery and co-edited a special photography issue of  the journal Canadian Women Studies. In recent years, she has presented her research at The Photographic Historical Society of Canada and The Toronto Arts & Letters Club.

EXILE Baldwin to Berlin Photographs by Corey Glass & Laura Jones


058AFBA0-3F21-43FA-A9DB-B93CE901FC9CPhotographs by



Monday May 11

7 pm to 9 pm

Portland Room @ The Spoke Club


600 King St. W.

music by Richard Underhill & Kevin Barrett

cash bar | finger food | silent auction

$5 suggested donation


Photographs by two generations of U.S. war resisters:

LAURA JONES came to Canada during the Vietnam War. Her story and photos of the U.S. exile community on Baldwin Street in Toronto were recently featured on CBC’s Doc Zone . COREY GLASS is a former U.S. National Guardsmen and Iraq War veteran who sought refuge in Canada in 2006 after making the conscientious decision not to return to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

His story was featured in a recent issue of New York Magazine as well as NOW Magazine.

A fundraising event organized by





Jane’s Walk “Power, People & Possibilities”

Social and Environmental Justice in South Riverdale, Leslieville and Riverside

Saturday May 2 11:00 am Meet at the Dark Horse (630 Queen Street E. @ Carroll Street.) The walk stops at five spots in the community and lasts about 1.5  hours 

Jane’s Walks 2015 are  walking tours that build community by getting  neighbours together and by discussing local urban issues.  There are about 200 Jane’s Walks in the Greater Toronto Area during a three day Jane’s Walk Festival May 1-3. Other cities in other parts of the world are doing walks too. See Jane’s Walks

I’ll be one of the “special guests”  of  Councillor Paula Fletcher. First you will visit two parks and the Ralph Thornton Centre and then head  to the church-yard of the Queen St. E. Presbyterian Church (Queen St E. at Carlaw Ave.) beside the South Riverdale Community Health Centre. It’s not a long walk from the coffee shop to the finish. I will look forward to chatting with you about the  “get the lead out” struggle and success.

To me Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) has been a legend who I have looked up to for 50 years. She authored many books including The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In 1968, she left the United States and settled in Toronto.

At that time, John Phillips and I had a gallery on Baldwin Street just two blocks south of the University of Toronto. Jane Jacob sent students to interview us about our attitude towards wide sidewalks. Really, I had never thought about sidewalks one way or another. But after living on the street and being asked by different students, I became aware of the importance of sidewalks to the building of  our very tight community on Baldwin Street.  I  awed Jane Jacobs as she voice her opinions and took on many of  our city’s planning and transportation issues.  She kept questioning and challenging throughout her life.

It is a delight to be asked by Paula Fletcher to be a “special guest” on a Jane’s Walk within our neighbourhood . Paula asked me because I became obsessed with pollution and health from a lead smelter (Canada Metals). It took almost the entire community of South Riverdale to get involved, to get the children’s blood tested, pollution control devices installed, contaminated soil replaced, and houses and schools cleaned. But then when this was all done, the company wanted to expand.  So don’t get me started. I’ll start ranting about the company not paying for the clean up. They finally closed and the film industry is on the site.

Enough said. Join a Jane’s Walk.  Not everybody is as lead obsessed as me. So check out the others. You may prefer skateboarding in the financial district.

Old Book and Paper Show Toronto

One of my current projects with my son Bennett Jones Phillips is the revived Baldwin Street Gallery .

The name is really a nod to the original gallery.  It had three different locations on Baldwin St. spanning thirteen years. Now, we aren’t really a gallery or on Baldwin St. But you can find us at photo and old paper shows.

So come to The Old Book and Paper Show and seek us out. It’s on Sunday Nov. 3rd 10am-4pm at Artscape Witchwood Barns, 601 Christie St. in Toronto. $8 but children under 12 are free. Parking is minimal. Take the TTC to get there. www.ttc.ca


Canadian Women Photographers

Not much has been written about Canadian women photographers but I’m happy to say that the interest is gradually increasing. Here is an example of a photographer who I really like . She is Geraldine Moodie. I included this photo in an exhibition that I curated at the London Regional Art Gallery called Rediscovery, Canadian Women Photographers, 1840-1940.  The image is courtesy of the Glenbow Museum.

Geraldine Moodie was a successful studio photographer. Her first studio was opened in 1885. Later she had a studio in Maple Cree and a branch in Medison Hat, the capital of the North West territories. Her husband worked for the North West Mounted Police for 32 years. In 1903 he was promoted to superintendant with the role of claiming land for Canada. Geraldine sometimes traveled with him. On the ship, the “Arctic”, Geraldine Moodie took photographs as they traveled to Hudson’s Bay and the eastern Arctic. She was not the official photographer on the exploration but her work exceeded the quality of the official photographer yet today her photographs are historically significant. She raised six children, had two studios, and often lived under rough conditions. Quite the interesting woman.

There is now a book about Moodie that was written by Danny White called In Search of Geraldine Moodie. Great book.

It’s been about forty years that I have been obsessed with this topic.  Back in the 1970’s I had a small research grant. It got me started but I keep coming back to the topic. At first, I  traveled across Canada a couple of times, visiting collectors and archives and talking to groups about women photographers. (I had to look at the back of thousands of photos to find the women photographers.) Now it is much easier! I search through the web.

But it wasn’t just historical women that I wanted to promote. Back in the 70’s,  the University of Toronto only let men in the darkroom, so I opened up my darkroom to UofT students. It got written up in Time/Life yearbook and Popular Photography had a headline that said something like “Women Photo Liberationists are on the march in Canada.” In reality, there were less than ten of us and we formed a group called Women’s Photography Coop. We put on an exhibit and guest edited an issue of  “Image Nation” published by Coach House Press. Later we changed the name to Women in Photography and taught courses.

To bring this topic up to date, I am still pursuing this interest. In the past year, I gave a presentation to the Etobicoke Camera Club and a few years back to the Photographic Historical Society of Canada.


West Nile Virus

west Nile, cramps, fibre short