An extensive exhibition of photographs from key moments of the Civil Rights movement by American documentary photographer Steve Schapiro is starting on February 10 at Monroe Gallery, in Santa Fe.
Schapiro covered many stories related to the Civil Rights movement, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the push for voter registration and the Selma to Montgomery march. Called by Life to Memphis after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Schapiro produced some of the most iconic images of that tragic event. When the civil rights movement came to a crossroads during the Selma-to-Montgomery march of 1965, photographer Steve Schapiro captured an iconic moment from the march in an image of Dr. Martin Luther King linking arms with fellow civil rights activists John Lewis, the Rev. Jesse Douglas, James Forman and Ralph Abernathy. The image captures the leadership, the unity, and the strength of the civil rights leaders, who faced violence from law enforcement as well as death threats during their fight for voting rights for African Americans.
Schapiro’s historic photographs are made more timely with the recent Presidential campaign and election. President Trump’s recent criticisms of civil-rights leader John Lewis drew widespread criticism and have done little to reassure those uneasy about the transition from the nation’s first black president to a president still struggling to connect with most nonwhite voters. This was the first presidential election since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act., and in recent days President Trump has promised a “major investigation of voter fraud” that he says cost him the popular vote, despite bipartisan condemnation of his allegations and the conclusion of Mr. Trump’s own lawyers that the election was not tainted. There are concerns Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions may further roll-back civil-rights protections.
Steve Schapiro’s photographs of the civil rights era not only brought awareness to the injustice of it all; they made people feel the injustice. Coupled with the new administrations attacks on the press, the exhibit is a reminder that photojournalism is a vital and necessary component of a free society.
Sidney and Michelle Monroe
Sidney and Michelle Monroe are the directors of the eponymous gallery in Santa Fe, USA.
Steve Schapiro, Eyewitness
February 10 through April 23; 2017.
112 Don Gaspar Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501