Featuring over 150 original photographs, the exhibition depicts the three Selma-to-Montgomery marches that rocked the nation and galvanized the Civil Rights Movement in 1965.
“Never before in New York or any other gallery has the work of photographers James Barker, Spider Martin and Charles Moore been brought together like this,” said Steven Kasher. “By combining their work, the exhibition captures in a new way the angst, courage and chaos of this seminal moment in American history.” On March 7th, 1965, Alabama state troopers and a local posse viciously attacked civil rights demonstrators in Selma, stopping a planned peaceful march to the state capitol in Montgomery, wounding many innocent marchers. Both filmed and photographed, “Bloody Sunday” instantly caused nationwide outrage.
A few days later, a second march, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was turned back. A third, ultimately successful march left Selma on March 21, arriving in Montgomery five days later. By then, President Lyndon B. Johnson, pushed by Dr. King and the horrific images of brutality captured by Martin, Moore and others, had introduced the Voting Rights Act to Congress, which became law later that year. “Together the images on display present a complex, compelling tableau that is both monumental and intimate, brave and vulnerable,” said Kasher. “The exhibit is inspiring, but also a chilling reminder that those who fight for social justice do at great risk, with no guarantee that their efforts will be successful – though sometimes they are, if only partially.”
Selma March 1965 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches as well as the Voting Rights Act they catalyzed. It is the 30th public exhibition that Kasher Gallery has organized of photography of the Civil Rights Movement.
Charles Moore (1931 – 2010) is the most renowned photographer of the Civil Rights Movement. His Selma pictures were published in two issues of Life, then the most read and shared journal in the U. S., with a wider audience than the television news. His pictures of peaceful demonstrators and brutal police shocked the nation and galvanized Congressional response.
In 1965 Spider Martin (1939 – 2003) was a young staff photographer at The Birmingham News. Spider was sent to cover the Selma events, but the News was reluctant to feature his images. Once the Bloody Sunday violence preempted national television programing and exposed what was happening in Selma, the News had no choice but to prominently publish Spider’s pictures, moving them from the back of the paper to the front
James Barker (b. 1936) was a participant observer on the third Selma march. As a staff photographer working at Washington State University he was chosen to join a delegation of three sent by the university to support and witness the march. His images are the only insider ones known to exist – as opposed to photojournalistic.
- Spider Martin, Spider Martin, 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 dominoes." March 7th, 1965. Vintage gelatin silver, printed ca. 1965. 8.5 x 13.5 inches. Signed by photographer recto; photographer’s stamp verso. Courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
- Charles Moore, State Police Wearing Gas Masks Fire Teargas at the Marchers and Then Charge Them a Second Time, 1965. Vintage gelatin silver, printed ca. 1965. 9 1/4 x 13 1/2 inches. Signed by photographer and Black Star stamp verso. Courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.