March in Memory, The

978-0-692-32857-6
Cloth $30
149 pp., 8.5" x 11", foreword, illustrations, Publication date: July 2015

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March in Memory, The

From Selma to Montgomery

Pettus, Peter, Photographs by:

These photographs were taken during the 1965 Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Never before published, this is the work of an artist photographer who wanted to tell the story directly and simply, not as a photojournalist, but as a participant in this national and political demonstration. The camera looks deep into the faces of those who were there — black, white, old, young, Northern, and Southern — at the time when America approached one of its greatest times of crisis.

The pictures unfold here as a narrative. As the March moves along, we see participants and bystanders depicted in dramatic shades of black and white. Passing through the towns, people gather to wave, not quite believing what they are seeing. The expressions on these faces reflect a vast range of emotions: hope, fear, doubt, and joy. We see, as the March approaches Montgomery, the hundreds who have spontaneously joined up. The final photographs of the huge crowd streaming into the Capitol express the power of those words: “I Have a Dream.”

Peter Pettus was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1935. He was graduated from Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude, in 1957. He served in the 66th Counter Intelligence Corps, U.S. Army, in Nurnberg, Germany. Subsequently, he spent three years as a Foreign Service officer in the U.S. State Department, 1960–1963. Resigning from the Foreign Service in 1963, Mr. Pettus became a free-lance photographer in the Washington, D.C. area. In 1965, he joined a group of protesters traveling to Alabama to join the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. These photographs are his record of that historic event.