The Civil Rights Movement Revisited

A new local exhibition showcases the work of seven photographers who captured some of the most iconic images from that period.

BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF

A new exhibition highlighting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement opens in Daytona Beach on Jan. 22 at the Southeast Museum of Photography.

In 1963, Matt Heron moved to Jackson, Miss., with his family to join the Civil Rights Movement where he organized The Southern Documentary Project — a team of eight photographers tasked with recording the rapid social change taking place in the South. Above is his 1965 photo capturing the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.(PHOTO BY MATT HERRON)
In 1963, Matt Heron moved to Jackson, Miss., with his family to join the Civil Rights Movement where he organized The Southern Documentary Project — a team of eight photographers tasked with recording the rapid social change taking place in the South. Above is his 1965 photo capturing the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.  (PHOTO BY MATT HERRON)

“The Civil Rights Movement Restored’’ will be on display at the museum through April 17. An opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. The museum, a service of Daytona State College, is located at 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd. (Mori Hosseini Center, Building 1200).

According to the museum, the exhibition brings together images by seven documentary photographers taken from three distinct portfolios that captured pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement in America.

The photographers are Benedict Fernandez, Leonard Freed, Matt Herron, Charles L. Moore, Gordon Parks, Flip Schulke and Dan Weiner.

The photographs include an iconic panoramic image by Herron of the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery and Schulke’s moving portrait of Coretta Scott King at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in Atlanta in 1968.

160114_dt_front02b‘Pictures That Made a Difference’
The Montgomery Bus Boycotts from 1955-56, the sit-ins of the early 1960s, the efforts of the Freedom Riders in 1961, the National March on Washington in 1963, and the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 are all pivotal moments in this movement, and one photographer that was in the center of it all was Charles Moore.

His portfolio from the series “Pictures That Made a Difference: The Civil Rights Movement’’ depicts his firsthand account. According to a Kodak biography, “Charles Moore didn’t plan to photograph the civil rights movement. In September 1958, he was a 27-year-old photographer for the Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser. When an argument broke out between the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and two policemen, Moore was the only photographer on the scene. His striking pictures of Dr. King’s arrest were distributed nationwide by the Associated Press, and one was published in Life magazine. A new career had begun.”

‘Countdown to Eternity’
In the late 1960s, the civil rights struggle can be seen from the images of Benedict Fernandez in the portfolio of his work sponsored by Kodak titled “Countdown to Eternity.’’

Fernandez made a significant contribution to the civil rights movement as he photographed civil rights activism across the country but it was in 1967 that he produced one of his most iconic portfolios. It was that year that he met King at a march from Central Park to the United Nations and ended up developing a friendship with King and his family.

During this time, Fernandez was given unprecedented access – photographing King in public appearances such as the New Politics Convention at the Chicago Coliseum about the direction of the war in Vietnam, to more intimate family moments, such as the civil rights leader enjoying lunch at the dining room table with family and friends after church.

Weary days
The last year of King’s life was full of tension and uncertainty, with America entering the war in Vietnam and the rise of the Black Power movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. enjoys lunch with his family after church in Atlanta.(PHOTO BY BENEDICT FERNANDEZ)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. enjoys lunch with his family after church in Atlanta.
(PHOTO BY BENEDICT FERNANDEZ)

In the catalog that accompanies the “Countdown to Eternity’’ portfolio, an essay by Aryeh Neir expresses how this tension is evident in Fernandez’s photographs, explaining how the images captured King’s “loneliness, weariness and despair,” showing that King was “surrounded by colleagues and supporters, yet it appears from the photos that he felt that he had the whole weight of his troubles, and the troubles of his movement, on his shoulders alone.”

As Fernandez was finishing up his yearlong photo story on King, he called King’s secretary to make travel arrangements to go to Atlanta for a final photo shoot. During that phone conversation, she gasped as she learned the news that King had been shot. Fernandez’s final images show King’s family in mourning at his funeral service and supporters gathered in honor of his life.

The museum is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. It is closed on Sundays. Admission is free.

‘Midway’ leaving center
Two exhibitions on loan from the museum to the Yvonne Scarlett Golden Cultural & Educational Center will close on Friday, Jan. 15.

“Midway: A Portrait of a Daytona Beach Neighborhood, 1943,’’ the display of photographs of renowned Photographer Gordon Parks, captured the lives of African-Americans in the mid-20th century in Daytona. The exhibit began on Sept. 11 at the center at 1000 Vine St.

Neighborhood ’99, a photography project made up of images of the same areas and intersections photographed by Parks over 50 years earlier, also closes on Jan. 15.

A closing reception is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the center. Scheduled to perform are gospel poet Cheral McRae-Hope and HBCU Records recording artists DJ DGlove and L. Paul Jackson Jr. Light refreshments will be served.

The exhibitions were organized from the permanent collection of the Southeast Museum of Photography at Daytona State College in cooperation with the City of Daytona Beach and the Yvonne Scarlett Golden Cultural & Educational Center.

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