Spider Martin Selma to Montgomery March Photo Exhibit on Display at the Central Library

Civil rights photographer James "Spider" Martin's Selma to Montgomery exhibit is at Central Library.

What: Spider Martin—Selma to Montgomery March Photo Exhibit 
When: Now through April 24, 2023 
Where: The Central Library 1st Floor, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203
Details: Spider Martin—Selma to Montgomery is on loan to the Birmingham Public Library though April 24, 2023, from ArtsRevive of Selma, Ala. The exhibit features historic photographs by James "Spider" Martin selected by Birmingham-based curator, Paul Barrett. The exhibition is sponsored by the Alabama Visual Arts Network. 

Spider Martin—Selma to Montgomery March Photo Exhibit on Display at the Central Library

Birmingham, Ala.—Just as Black History Month kicks off and the City of Birmingham celebrates 60 years of the civil rights movement, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is proud to be hosting a photo exhibit featuring the work of legendary photographer Spider Martin.

The exhibition, Spider Martin—Selma to Montgomery, is on display for the public to see during operating hours of the Central Library downtown, 2100 Park Place.

Spider Martin—Selma to Montgomery is on loan though April 24, 2023, from ArtsRevive of Selma, Ala., and features historic photographs by James "Spider" Martin selected by Birmingham-based curator, Paul Barrett. The exhibition is sponsored by the Alabama Visual Arts Network. 

About Spider Martin (Bio from his website, https://www.spidermartin.com/spiderbio/ )

Alabama photojournalist James "Spider" Martin, (b. 1939 - 2003) was employed as a staff photographer at The Birmingham News during one of the most eventful periods in American history.

On February 18, 1965, The Birmingham News dispatched Spider to Marion, Alabama, to cover the shooting of a young African-American man named Jimmie Lee Jackson. Jackson was shot by an Alabama State Trooper while attempting to protect his mother and grandfather after a peaceful protest turned into a skirmish. He died eight days later at Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma.

Once the Bloody Sunday violence preempted national television programing and exposed to the country what was happening in Selma, Alabama, The Birmingham News had no choice but to prominently publish Spider's pictures, finally forcing them to move the "Negro protest" news from the back of the paper to the front, even publishing a second front page. 

The Birmingham News released Spider from his assignment after Bloody Sunday because "the largely segregationist editors thought if you didn't publish it, much of this would go away." Spider won out his argument with The Birmingham News to stay on and with his camera covered these activities day by day, including the third and final successful Selma to Montgomery March where 25,000 mostly Black protesters—determined to be seen as equal citizens and win the right to vote—converged at the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on March 25, 1965. 

Spider overcame beatings and death threats to capture through his lens the most iconic images of a movement which changed a region and a nation. His photographs traveled all over the world, appearing in such publications as Time, Life, Der Spiegel, Stern, The Saturday Evening Post, Paris Match as well as The Birmingham News. Spider studied art at Jacksonville State University, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama Birmingham. 

Spider Martin's photographic record of this pivotal time in civil rights history includes nearly 3,000 black and white negatives of Bloody Sunday, the Selma to Montgomery March, Viola Liuzzo's Murder Trial and George Wallace's 1968 Presidential Campaign. Because of their controversial nature for the time, Spider did not attempt to exhibit these images until nearly twenty years after the events he photographed took place. Most have never been printed and exist only as negatives. 

Learn more about Spider Martin by clicking on these links below: 

About ArtsRevive 

ArtsRevive is a membership-based, non-profit organization. Incorporated in 2003, ArtsRevive has grown in membership and in the type and number of opportunities it has presented to the community. When community members, governmental leaders, artists and designers work together it increases the vibrancy and diversity in a place. ArtsRevive believes that the arts offer an entry to economic and community redevelopment and can spur creative place-making in Selma and Dallas County. 

About Alabama Visual Arts Network 

Founded in 1968, the Alabama Visual Arts Network is a 501c3 nonprofit organization working to cultivate understanding, awareness and appreciation of visual art and the role it plays in the economic vitality and quality of life of every Alabamian, and as an important cultural and community resource. We support and promote visual art and artists through education, public engagement and professional development, and we serve as an advisory panel to assist visual artists and organizations in consolidating professional projects that further visual art excellence for the mutual improvement, cultural benefit and social enlightenment of artists and the public. 

About Paul Barrett: 

Paul Barrett is a Birmingham-based independent curator. He currently has two additional exhibitions on view in Alabama: "I, Too, Am Thornton Dial" at the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, and "The Promise of Living / The Tender Land - Photography by Jerry Siegel" at the International Arts Center at Troy University. Barrett's previous exhibitions at the Birmingham Public Library include: "Sheila Pree Bright - #1960Now" and "Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew" in 20172018 and "Four Freedoms Alabama" in 2018-2019. 

About the Birmingham Public Library

The mission of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is to provide the highest quality experience to our community for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. For more information, follow BPL on our website, www.cobpl.org, and on social media @BPL on Twitter on Facebook at Birmingham Public Library and on Instagram @BPLPics

Below are some of the Spider Martin—Selma to Montgomery photos on display at the Central Library