Monday, September 04, 2017

September Masterpiece of the Month: Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965 by James Karales

Who Made It?
This photograph was taken by an American artist named, James Karales in 1965.

Where Is the Real One?
The real photo can be seen at the Special Collections Library at Duke University in Durham, NC.

Why Is It Important?
Selma-to-Montgomery is an example of PHOTOJOURNALISM, meaning that the photographer uses a camera to record real events. Karales captures a moment during a four-day march by 25,000 people over 54 miles from the town of Selma, AL to the state capital of Montgomery. The people were marching for equal voting rights for African-Americans in the United States. Karales' photograph of the event has become a famous icon of the Civil Rights Movement and captures the spirit and determination of civil rights workers during those tense and dangerous times.

Karales positioned his camera so that we look up at the marchers who appear to climb an unseen path. The stormy sky above appears to challenge their efforts but the marchers continue on. The bodies of the first three marchers move together in unison, as though keeping a rhythymic beat, and appear full of strength and determination. In the center of the photograph is the American flag: a symbol of individual freedom and Constitional rights.

Far from simply recording a historic event, Selma-to-Montgomery captures a fleeting moment that tells the story of the desire for freedom that is the shared hertiage of all Americans.