‘The Fight for Civil Rights in the South’ is on display through Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. By Regina L. Burns
Memorial Day is the last chance visitors can see two acclaimed photography collections about the African American battle for civil rights, on view at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. The Fight for Civil Rights in the South showcases the combined Selma to Montgomery: Photographs by James “Spider” Martin and Courage Under Fire: The 1961 Burning of the Freedom Riders Bus.
“We were searching for an exhibit that highlighted some seminal events in the fight for civil rights in the United States and connected to the African American history section in our American Ideals Reality Repair Gallery,” Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins said. “The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute had these two wonderful exhibitions available, so we put them together and added original artifacts and additional historical material to create a unified whole.”
Martin’s photographs pinpointed the violence of Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, when nonviolent marchers were beaten by state troopers in Alabama as they stood up for voting rights. His images also documented the other two Selma to Montgomery marches held that same month. Photographs of civil rights legends, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, Andrew Young and John Lewis, among many others, were also included.
Joseph Postiglione’s photographs showed the horror Freedom Riders experienced when their Greyhound bus was “set on fire by members of the Ku Klux Klan,” according to the exhibition’s notes. The Freedom Riders were protesting segregated public transportation in Anniston, Alabama on May 14, 1961. “Postiglione caught the Freedom Riders in the immediate aftermath [of the firebombing], their clothes ashen, their faces distraught, and the flames and smoke from the bus in plain view,” according to the exhibition’s notes.
Each collection’s 48 photographs transport visitors to the segregated 1960s and the battle for civil rights. Other standouts include a comprehensive timeline and excerpts of Dr. King’s powerful speech, "How Long? Not Long." The exhibition is on display through Memorial Day. For tickets and more information, check out DHHRM.org.
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.
She previously worked for a variety of news media organizations as an editor and journalist, including The Associated Press in Mississippi and Texas. She was news director at WLOK-AM and WGKX KIX-106 FM in Memphis. Learn more