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Selma Marches

Source: Getty Images

Indiana Black Expo announced today that in observance of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights, it will host the documentary exhibition of historic photographs by famed photo journalist Stephen Somerstein in its Cultural Arts Pavilion during Summer Celebration from Friday, July 17th through Sunday, July 19th. The photographs will be auctioned off at the conclusion of the event to benefit Black Expo’s educational scholarship initiatives. Mr. Somerstein will be present at the private Cultural Arts Pavilion Opening Reception on Thursday, July 16, 2015.

The March & Exhibit

The Selma to Montgomery marches were three marches in 1965 that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. They grew out of the voting rights campaign in Selma, Alabama. When white resistance to Black voter registration proved intractable, the Dallas County Voters League requested the assistance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. They brought together many prominent civil rights advocates, civic leaders, union leaders, noted writers and cultural figures who supported voting rights, as well as students from colleges across the country. Only the third march, which began on March 21 and lasted five days, made it to the state capital, Montgomery, 51 miles away. The marchers averaged 10 miles a day along U.S. Route 80, known in Alabama as the “Jefferson Davis Highway.” Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, they arrived in Montgomery on March 24, and at the Alabama Capitol building on March 25. At the steps of the state capital, before 25,000 marchers, King delivered a stirring address, now referred to as his “How Long, Not Long” speech.

SELMA to MONTGOMERY: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail, organized by National Exhibitions & Archives, LLC of Glens Falls, New York, documents this quest for equality and social justice through 45 powerful, historic black and white and color photographs taken by photojournalist Stephen Somerstein depicting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Sr., James Baldwin, Joan Baez, Harry Belefonte, Cleveland Robinson, Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, John Lewis, Juanita Abernathy, Ralph Abernathy, and others.

The Auction

Thirty-five (35) framed photographs will be auctioned off to benefit the Circle City Classic® Scholarship Fund. Individuals interested in bidding or purchasing those prints must register online. Click the Link Here to Register: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SELMA PHOTOGRAPHS AUCTION  Registrations are open now. Bidding will start on Wednesday, July 8th at 4:30 PM.

About Photographer Stephen Somerstein

Stephen Somerstein is a documentary photographer whose vision has been shaped by the complexity and richness of the urban-cultural landscape. His work spans a continuous thread from the 1960’s (i.e., Greenwich Village cultural scene, Berkeley anti-war movement, civil rights, Harlem, Manhattan, on to the present, covering cultural, social and political subjects. Whether pursuing the “decisive moment” evinced by Cartier-Bresson or the ideal composition of W. Eugene Smith, he seeks to imbue each image with a sense of time, place, humanity, grace and dignity.

In 1965, with the rise in public consciousness of the urgency and importance of the civil rights movement in the South and Dr. Martin Luther King’s pursuit of equal opportunity and voting rights, as Editor-in-Chief of the City College of New York newspaper Main Events, Somerstein journeyed to Alabama to cover the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march. His Selma work evinces an interest in the civil rights leaders, the marchers as individuals, but also the on-lookers – those people who will be most strongly affected by the opportunities sought by the civil rights movement.

About Indiana Black Expo, Inc.

Indiana Black Expo, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization with twelve chapter affiliates in the State of Indiana. IBE hosts the Summer Celebration, its annual fundraiser which funds several year round programs which include the following: The College and Scholarship fair, State of Our Black Youth Initiative, Statewide Education Conference, Parent Engagement Summit, Children’s Day Health Initiative, Family Zone Health & Wellness Initiative, Circle City Classic® Coronation, Youth Leadership Summit and Youth Media Institute.