Freedom Journey 1965: Selma to Montgomery March

Monday, January 19, 2015

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Today celebrates the mighty achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. and the people who marched for racial equality in this country. The courage and bravery of these people are depicted in these stunning photo series Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein. These photos document the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March in 1965. Somerstein was a student of City College of New York and he traveled to Alabama and joined the march to capture this historical march.

"I had five cameras slung around my neck," he recalled. Over the 5 day, 54 mile march, he joined the people and had full accessible to the event. It feels so intimate to see the faces of so many people who didn't get their voice heard or have the right to vote, because of their race and background. It is so shocking to believe that prejudice and discrimination still exists in 2015. Acts of violence and racism still exist today and we need to stand up to that and raise awareness for racial and human equality.

These photos are truly inspiring and moving. The film Selma has awakened the activist within me and it has awakened the humanity in me (in the words of Common at the Golden Globes). I haven't been so moved by a film in so long and to see, feel and experience the pain and glory depicted in these photos and in the film, I become more human and in tune with history, people and our rights.

These photos are currently on view at the New York Historical Society from January 16 - April 19th, 2015.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.

SelmaMarch_65_35-001-14_Heid_PP-XL Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking before crowd of 25,000 civil rights marchers, in front of Montgomery, Alabama state capital building. Selma To Montgomery Alabama Civil Rights March,  March 25, 1965 SelmaMarch_65_35-003-21_72dpi-XL SelmaMarch_65_35-005-9a_72dpi-XL SelmaMarch_65_35-005-35_72dpi-XL "SFS_SelmaMarch_1965_35-009-19.jpg"
Photo source: Stephen Somerstein,  New York Historical SocietyThe Daily Beast