Through The Lens Of History

James H. Barker, Painted Car, Sunday, March 22, 1965.

Grand Circle Pays Tribute To Selma and The Civil Rights Movement

by Franklin W. Liu

On November 4, 2008, Reverend Jesse Jackson sobbed openly on live TV as the nation’s electoral-vote count was tallied: a black man, a novice-politician, Barack H. Obama would historically become the 44th President of the United States of America. Fifty years ago, at the height of America’s Civil Rights Movement, this improbable election’s outcome was not even a remote dream when the March from Selma to Montgomery took place in 1965.

That in January 2008 any black man would be elected as the U.S. president was a fantasy, a political-bridge too far to cross in 1965 — even for those audacious, staunch civil rights leaders who marched right alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who preached an enduring dream that one day his four little children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their characters. Dr. King knew then that the fight for the unobstructed right to vote, a fundamental hallmark of democracy, would have to come first for African-Americans. Located on Boston’s scenic waterfront, the Grand Circle Gallery is currently hosting “Through the Lens of History: Selma & Civil Rights,” a reflective, 50th anniversary tribute exhibition.

More than 100 black-and-white photo- graphic images serve as a sobering testament of social strife and the pernicious, systemic racism that existed during the turbulent 1960s, where in many Southern states the protection for racial minorities’ voting rights were overtly imperiled. This exhibition lifts the viewer back in time with a caveat to witness that collective-dreams may come true only if one is willing to sacrifice, and to persevere, for a “righteous” cause célèbre.

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