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Black and White together.

Selma, Alabama 1965

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Martin Luther King, James Forman and others in Beulah Baptist Church prior to Bloody Sunday march.

"I went to church every night. I sang the songs. I still sing the songs. This is the way it was. Singing and speaking. I learned a lot and loved it. I was very lucky to be there at the right time in my life. I majored in art and minored in history. My work is art history."

Spider Martin 2001 

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Andrew Young leads a prayer with John Lewis, Hosea Williams, James Bevel and Amelia Boynton before Bloody Sunday march near Brown Chapel AME Church. 

1/4  "Selma, Bloody Sunday"

1/4 "Selma, Bloody Sunday"

"Andrew Young giving a blessing before marching across the Alabama River. Andy stayed at the Church thinking they would probably be turned around." 

Spider Martin 2001

1/5  "Selma 1965 Bloody Sunday"

1/5 "Selma 1965 Bloody Sunday"

"Hosea Williams and John Lewis leading marchers over the Alabama River. No one had any idea of what was about to happen. Hosea told me at the Savannah Civil Rights Museum in 1999 that Dr. King had called John and asked him to postpone the march till later. Hosea said no, we're going to march. They argued and Hosea won out. Hosea died soon after he told me this story."

Spider Martin 2001

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Alabama State Troopers, equipped with gas masks, tear gas canisters and carrying billy clubs wait beyond the Bridge.

1/7   "Two Minute Warning"

1/7 "Two Minute Warning"

Hosea Williams and John Lewis confront troopers on Bloody Sunday.

"There had been a two minute warning, but like the old song went, "there ain't no turning me 'round." The troopers stampeded into the crowd beating everything in sight that was black. The marchers stood their ground, but were beaten down like dominos."

Spider Martin 2001

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"All of a sudden the troopers charged like a pack of wild dogs. Beating anyone in sight. Men, women, children and me, Spider Martin. I can still feel the place on my head. He fractured John Lewis' skull. The tear gas was everywhere. Screaming. Billy clubs waving in the air. The troopers were mad dogs. This moment changed the dynamics of Alabama, the USA and the world forever. This was Bloody Sunday."

Spider Martin 2001 

 

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Troopers attacking and beating the non-violent protesters on Bloody Sunday.

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Amelia Boynton Robinson lies unconscious on the ground.

"A nightmare. How could men do this? They were animals. I am right now shakin' my head, still. How? I don't understand."

Spider Martin 2001

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"Amelia Boynton Robinson was beaten unconscious. I have always wondered what the state trooper was thinking."

Spider Martin 2001

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"Amelia Boynton Robinson beaten by state troopers. Disgusting."

Spider Martin 2001

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"I could hardly see for the tear gas. I had just been hit in the back of my head. I was gung ho, invincible, I thought."

Spider Martin 2001

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A cloud of thick tear gas covers the violent scene on Bloody Sunday. 

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Sheriff Jim Clark's mounted posse push the marchers back to Brown Chapel.

1/16  "Selma, Bloody Sunday"

1/16 "Selma, Bloody Sunday"

"After beating the marchers, the Alabama state troopers and the Dallas County posse chased the marchers over the bridge back to the church. One of the troopers I had become friends with had warned me that Gov. Wallace told some of the troopers to "git Spider Martin." "He has been having too many pictures in the Yankee Press." I wasn't afraid of anything. When I got to the church I was standing near the project apartments. For all I knew I was about to be shot. All of a sudden a big black woman reached out and drug me into her apartment. She said git in here before they kill you. I smelled turnip greens and cornbread. I sat down and ate my favorite food. Ten minutes later I was back outside, still alive and energized."

Spider Martin 2001

1/17  "Bloody Sunday 1965"

1/17 "Bloody Sunday 1965"

"I call this man, "pit bull with a pistol." After a 10 minute snack -- turnip greens, corn bread, black eyed peas, pork chops and iced sweet tea -- in the projects, I opened my saviors apt. door and looked out at this Dallas County posse person. The lady had asked did I want some desert -- banana pudding -- I ate the puddin' & then went back to work. 

Spider Martin 2001

 

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Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Martin Luther King and A.D. King in Selma, Ala., on March 21, 1965, the start of a five-day, 54-mile march on the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. 

 

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"Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King Jr. When I look at this picture I get the feeling that Dr. King is looking up at God and saying, "I am coming home." An old song I sang at a country church two Sunday's ago in Blount County, Alabama."

Spider Martin 11/12/2001

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"The march that made it all the way to Montgomery. The US army took charge thanks to President Johnson. My vantage point was a pole I climbed and barely got Dr. King in the lower right hand corner."

Spider Martin 2001

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March 21, 1965, first day of 3rd and final march from Selma to Montgomery. John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Ralph Bunche and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel lead marchers over the Edmund Pettus Bridge to the State Capitol in Montgomery. 

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The beginning of the Selma to Montgomery Freedom March heading down Highway 80.

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John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Ralph Abernathy, James Bevel and Andrew Young lead foot soldiers down Highway 80 at the start of the Selma to Montgomery Freedom March. 

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Jim Letherer marched all 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery on crutches. Also pictured is Andrew Young and James Orange.

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James Orange, Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy march down Highway 80 in Lowndes County. 

James Orange was an activist with the SCLC in Perry County, Alabama, west of Selma. He had been jailed in the Perry County jail for his voter registration activity. Black residents decided to make a peaceful protest march to the jail on February 18, 1965 fearing Orange would be lynched. Police and state troopers attacked and beat the marchers. Church deacon and civil rights activist, Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot in the stomach as he rushed to protect his mother from police brutality. He died in Selma's Good Samaritan hospital eight days later. His death inspired the Selma to Montgomery March.

 

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"We Shall Overcome."

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"This picture was made in Big Swamp Creek on Highway 80. The army protected the marchers along the way. Soldiers are in the swamp. They also looked for bombs under the bridge. There were water moccasins and alligators."

Spider Martin 2001

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"Selma March 1965"

"Marching up Highway 80 under the protection of the US army. Sharpshooters were stationed in those houses on the horizon and some were behind me. It was wet on this day but the singing of We Shall Overcome kept up everyone's spirits."

Spider Martin 2001

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Dr. King leads the march leaving Lowndes County.

1/30  "Selma March, 1965"

1/30 "Selma March, 1965"

"No one was really prepared for walking this far. This priest from Maine told me he couldn't make it. I told him I weighed 125 pounds, my camera bag was 50 pounds and I was walking backwards and shooting pictures. I reached out my hand and he got up and finished the march."

Spider Martin 2001

1/31  "Selma March 1965"

1/31 "Selma March 1965"

"My feets is tired, but my soul is rested."

"This woman was asleep, camped on the side of the road after a day of marching. She was so tired, my flash didn't wake her. 

Later, Howell Raines wrote the book, "My Soul Is Rested." Howell is now the editor of the New York Times. He is from Walker County, Alabama."

Spider Martin 2001

 

1/32 "Selma March 1965"

1/32 "Selma March 1965"

"He walked all the way on one leg. Courage." 

Spider Martin 2001

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"When I first saw this old antebellum mansion near Haynesville on Highway 80 I thought this house represented 400 years of slavery. The house even still had the slave quarters out back. 

I went to Dr. King and told him I was going to set up in front of the house and when they walked by not to look at the camera. Dr. King knew the power of the press. He just had to look out of the corner of his eye to make sure I was there. It made the picture." L to R John Lewis, Dr. King, Ralph Abernathy and James Bevel

Spider Martin 2001

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John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, Dr. King and others take a break from marching along Highway 80. 

1/35  "Sweet Home Alabama"

1/35 "Sweet Home Alabama"

"Somewhere in the Black Belt of Alabama. I was always curious. I saw this little log cabin, got out and started talking in my best Southern drawl with a little Scottish brogue. Friends at first sight. I looked around and asked the father where were the children's playthings? He pointed to the tire and asked the little boy to show me how they bounced on the tire like rich kids did on their trampolines. Believe it or not they were happy."

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Peter, Paul and Mary preforming at the Stars For Freedom rally in the City of St. Jude campsite the night before the final leg of the march into Montgomery.  

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Sammy Davis Jr. performing at the Stars For Freedom rally at the City of St. Jude campsite the night before the final leg of the march into Montgomery. 

1/38  "Selma March"

1/38 "Selma March"

"The last nite of the march."

"St. Jude. There was a really big rally going on. Dr. King & Coretta show the enthusiasm of all. There were many movie stars and celebrities. Sammy Davis Jr. is telling a joke. It was an incredible nite."

Spider Martin 2001

"P.S. the crowd was so big people were fainting & they were passing bodies over the crowd. I was smashed against the stage. After all I had been through I was thinking "what a way to die."

Spider Martin 2001

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Actor Pernell Roberts sharing a joyful moment with young marcher at the City of St. Jude campsite where he volunteered. He was well known at the time as Adam Cartright on the popular TV series Bonanza. He received an Emmy in 1981 for his role in Trapper John, M.D. but was well known beyond the screen for his quiet singing career and battle with NBC and ABC against “junk TV antics” such as whites portraying minorities and playing into racial stereotypes.

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Dr. King leads the Freedom March along with James Forman and Reverend Jessie Douglas around the State Capitol in Montgomery in protest of unfair treatment of African Americans and voter discrimination.

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Dr. King leads the Freedom March along with Ralph Abernathy, James Forman and Reverend Jessie Douglas around the State Capitol in Montgomery in protest of unfair treatment of African Americans and voter discrimination.

 

1/42  "The Selma March"

1/42 "The Selma March"

"Coming into Montgomery. It was such a joyous occasion for everyone, especially me. I had captured history. I had helped through the photographs. It was the most important thing in my life."

Spider Martin 2001

1/43  "Montgomery 1965"

1/43 "Montgomery 1965"

"White Citizens Council members @ the Alabama State Capitol. A picture tells a thousand words."

Spider Martin 2001

1/44  "Selma March 1965"

1/44 "Selma March 1965"

"No, that's not disrespect, it means our nation is in distress. It was hard getting shots like these. I didn't have a motor-drive camera. I didn't have auto-focus. And when I cranked the lever for the next exposure it would always move the camera a little. No automatic exposure either. It was very difficult just to shoot the pix and on top of that I was marching backwards not knowing if some redneck was about to beat me up. I was attacked on 7 different occasions."

Spider Martin 2001

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White segregationists protest as the Freedom March arrives in Montgomery.

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"This photo could be today in New York City. The Twin towers. The Bombing. The War. And this was in 1965, war. This picture was picked up by the Associated Press and ran all over the world. I had friends in the Vietnam War who saw the picture with my name on it in the local Saigon Newspaper."

Spider Martin 2001

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Members of the White Citizens Council protest at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery Freedom March.

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Members of the White Citizens Council protest at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery Freedom March.

1/49  "Selma March 1965"

1/49 "Selma March 1965"

"Welcome to Selma"

"These people were typical racists. The man shooting me the bird spit on me & then sprayed white paint on my camera lens. Called me a traitor, a white nigger and an outside agitator. I took the filter off the lens & put a clean one on & kept shooting. I had a pocket full of filters."

Spider Martin 2001 

 

1/50  "Selma 1965"

1/50 "Selma 1965"

"After I made this picture I asked this marcher what Alabama God-Damn meant? He said it meant, "Lord, these people have enslaved my people people for 400 years, damn them."

Spider Martin 2001

It's believed that when Spider wrote this description he took license, actually just attempting to soften the controversial truth behind this man's jacket. So many times Spider had to fight to have this image appear in his exhibitions, especially in Alabama. The reality is that this Freedom Fighter was protesting voter discrimination, inequality and violence against black Americans and was inspired by jazz soul singer, Nina Simone's song Mississippi Goddam. Written from her pent-up hostility over the the murder of civil rights activist, Megar Evers in June 1963 by klansman Byron de la Beckwith and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing 4 black girls. 

1/51  "Selma March 1965"

1/51 "Selma March 1965"

"Dr. King delivering his speech to the triumphant crowd of marchers. This was the end of an era and the beginning of another. My vantage point was secured by Dr. King's trust and friendship and the fact that a 5' 2" photographer didn't take much room. All my photographer friends, including Charles Moore are sitting in the foreground."

Spider Martin 2001

1/52  "Selma to Montgomery"

1/52 "Selma to Montgomery"

"Dr. King delivering his speech where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the Confederate States. Montgomery, the cradle of the Confederacy, the birthplace of Civil Rights."

Spider Martin 2001

1/53  "Selma March 1965"

1/53 "Selma March 1965"

"Joan Baez, folksinger. She is on a truck platform signing to the marchers who have just made the march to the State Capitol. After she stepped down, she and I shared some fried chicken."

Spider Martin 2001

1/54 "Selma March Montgomery, 1965"

1/54 "Selma March Montgomery, 1965"

"United we stand, divided we fall."

Spider Martin 2001

 

  

1/55  "Montgomery, Climax of the Selma March"

1/55 "Montgomery, Climax of the Selma March"

"There, atop the State Capitol of Alabama flies the Alabama flag and the confederate flag. There, where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the President of a new nation. There, the first capitol of The Confederate States. There, where 20,000,000 Black Americans earned the right to vote stood Martin Luther King delivering his climactic speech. And there I was with my camera. There, I learned what my purpose in life was."

Spider Martin 2001

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Jim Letherer, who finished the entire 54 mile Selma to Montgomery Freedom March on crutches, enjoys a cigarette with a priest after Dr. Martin Luther King has addressed the crowd of more than 25,000 jubilant marchers at the Alabama State Capitol. 

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Dr. King in Birmingham, Alabama announcing the passage of Voting Rights Act. 

1/58  "Birmingham Aug 1965"

1/58 "Birmingham Aug 1965"

"Dr. King in Birmingham, Alabama announcing the passage of the Voting Rights Act. At last all Americans can vote. I was standing on stage wrapped in the curtain folds. B'ham was my hometown. As Dr. King walked off stage he saw me there. He shook my hand and said, “Spider, we could have marched, we could have protested forever, but if it weren’t for guys like you, it would have been for nothing. The whole world saw your pictures. That’s why the Voting Rights Act passed.”

Spider Martin 2001