Grand Circle Gallery announces the opening of “Through the lens of history: Selma & Civil Rights,” a compelling photographic tribute to the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The public is invited to attend the free exhibit, which will run from September 17, 2015 through January 2, 2016, at Grand Circle Gallery, 347 Congress Street, Boston.
The exhibit features the work of James H. Barker, a student photographer on the staff at Washington State University who was chosen by an ad hoc committee to cover the story of the third Selma march. The first two marches were stopped by violence; the final event was a successful four-day walk to the state capital led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.The Selma-to-Montgomery marches were a highlight of the American civil rights movement since they brought about passage of the Voting Rights Act, signed five months later by President Lyndon Johnson to end discriminatory voter registration practices.
James Barker recalls of his assignment: “It all happened extraordinarily quickly…I was operating in an utter frenzy, wondering what to carry in order to be able to be portable and move very quickly.” His compact Leica camera enabled him to take up-close photographs from inside the march. The result is a series of images with significant historic value.
Through the lens of history: Selma & Civil Rights also features a selection of other renowned photographs that complement the story, including those of Stephen Somerstein. Similar to Barker, Somerstein was an aspiring student photographer capturing the event for his college newspaper. His photos show the passionate activists – white and black – as well as the dissenters lining the route.
Also on prominent display in the Gallery is a striking bronze maquette of Martin Luther King, Jr., designed by Boston sculptor and painter John Woodrow Wilson. Mr. Wilson created the model for major public commissions in the U.S. Capitol rotunda and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park in Buffalo.
“We are excited to launch our first exhibit devoted entirely to photography, especially with its powerful and thought-provoking theme of great importance to Alan and Harriet Lewis,” said Mark Schianca, Grand Circle Gallery Director & Curator. The Lewises own travel entity Grand Circle Corporation and created Grand Circle Gallery in 2010 in order to share their inspiring collection of rare travel posters, art work, and photography with residents and visitors of Boston.
“Our acknowledgement of the 50th anniversary of the Selma march is – unfortunately — timely, given the racial incidents at the top of the news lately,” said Mr. Lewis. We hope that Grand Circle’s observance of this historical event points out the need for equality in every segment of society.”