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Selma

Bruce Davidson's lasting documentation of the historic Selma Marches, a seminal turning point in the American Civil Rights movement

Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a group of marchers from Selma to Montgomery to fight for Black suffrage. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a group of marchers from Selma to Montgomery. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Procession of demonstrators during the Selma March from Selma to Montgomery. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson On the second day, marchers awoke to a light drizzle. Those who did not have raincoats fashioned coverings out of plastic. Selma, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Marchers in the rain. Selma, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Civil right's marchers side by side. Selma, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Martin Luther King Jr. on the Selma March for Black suffrage. The march went from Selma to Montgomery. Selma, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Montgomery, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Young girl during the Selma March from Selma to Montgomery. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Montgomery, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Along with the hostile bystanders, they found a few supporters of their cause. Montgomery, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Young man with 'Vote' painted on his forehead walking in the Selma March. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Governor George Wallace on television during the Selma March. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Car of Viola Liuzzo, a white civil rights worker from Detroit, who was driving to Selma with 19-year-old Leroy Morton, when they were forced off the road, shot and killed. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Montgomery, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Hecklers on the side of the road hold up a confederate flag. Selma, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson From the beginning of the march in Selma, the marchers found jeering bystanders. Selma, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Alabama State Trooper along the road during the Selma March from Selma to Montgomery. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Police and the Army escort the Selma Freedom Marcher led by Martin Luther King. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson A National Guardsman stands outside a home during the Selma March from Selma to Montgomery. Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson During the Selma March that Martin Luther King led, organized to show support for a drive to register black voters. Voting registration held in the former gallows. Near Selma, Alabama. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson A nun and marchers at the march. Montgomery, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Martin Luther King speaks to the crowd of marchers. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson The Selma March. Selma, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson At the end of the march in Montgomery, marchers crowd into the front of the capitol to hear Martin Luther King's address. Montgomery, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos
Bruce Davidson Police wait at the capitol building for the marchers to arrive from the Selma March. Montgomery, Alabama, USA. 1965. © Bruce Davidson | Magnum Photos

On March 22, 1965, 300 Civil Rights demonstrators began a march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol of Montgomery to confront local institutions which obstructed African Americans from registering to vote. Three days later, their number had swelled to more than 25,000 as they gathered at the state capitol building to listen to a speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. and deliver a petition to segregationist Governor George Wallace.

This march was the third attempted in 1965. The first was made on March 7, when state and county police impeded and then attacked demonstrators at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. Two days later Martin Luther King, Jr. led a ceremonial march across the bridge for a brief prayer session before being given a court order that ended the event. These three marches, including the bloody repression at the Pettus Bridge, were greatly publicized and drew national attention to voter rights in the South.

Appalled at what he’d seen, on March 15, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented a bill to Congress which would become the Voter Rights Act, one of the most effective pieces of Civil Rights legislation ever implemented. In 1960 there were 53,000 registered black voters in Alabama but 10 times that amount in 1990.