A great way to learn about Selma’s history is from people who have resided in the area. The We Are Selma Portrait Project, will give you a peek inside Bloody Sunday, an event that forever changed Selma’s history. Be sure to stop by this exhibition August 24th through September 29th at Garland Hall.
We Are Selma Portrait Project
Kathryn Mayo, a photography professor at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, was born and raised in Selma. She is also an alumna from the Department of Art and Art History. Through her photography, she shares a unique look into this city’s sordid past. Included is a magnificent 11×14-inch wet plate collection that features actual portraits of residents of Selma along with recorded interviews.
The unique technique used by Mayo for her collection was invented in 1851, and it brings faces alive. Along with using the technique, she teaches it to her students. Included in her exhibition at Garland Hall are 40 portraits. If you wonder why this collection is so important, you have to understand some of Selma’s history.
In the early to mid-1960s, there was a lot of unrest in Selma because blacks were prohibited from voting. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee led a voting campaign, which was met with stiff resistance from law enforcement in the county. However, local activists pushed back. They persuaded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, along with Martin Luther King Jr., to help raise awareness on the issue.
In January and February 1965, the SCLC and King led several demonstrations. Unfortunately, a protester named Jimmy Lee Jackson was killed by an Alabama state trooper in February, prompting a March 7th demonstration from Selma to Montgomery. On that date, roughly 600 civil rights supporters showed up. When trying to pass the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, they were blocked by local police and state troopers.
After protesters refused to turn back as ordered, teargas was dispersed and nonviolent protesters were savagely beaten, sending more than 50 people to the hospital. That protest became known as “Bloody Sunday”.
Having been televised around the globe, King encouraged more supporters to join in a second protest on March 9th. At the same bridge, tensions increased. Finally, the government got involved, granting the protestors federal protection. Then, on March 21st (during the third and final protest), the SCLC and King’s message was heard.
On August 6th, 1965, the federal government passed the Voting Rights Act, allowing blacks the same rights to vote. Mayo created her collection in honor of the people from Selma who either participated in the demonstrations or remember Bloody Sunday. By attending this event, you have an incredible opportunity to see how history was changed as you learn about Selma’s story through the eyes of its residents.
Buying the Best
This exhibition is definitely worth visiting if you are interested to know about part of our nation’s history. Are you in need of a vehicle to get you there? Instead of settling on just any car, come by and see us at Genesis of Tuscaloosa. We have an incredible selection of pre-owned and new vehicles for you to choose from. A professional salesperson will help guide you through the process to ensure you drive away in the vehicle that you want. We can’t wait to assist you!