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Guide to the Stephen Somerstein Photographs of the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery
1965
 PR 314

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Marybeth Kavanagh

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 07, 2016

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Stephen Somerstein Photographs of the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery
Dates: 1965
Abstract: This collection consists of 59 photographs by Stephen Somerstein documenting the 1965 Civil Rights March from Selma to Mongomery, AL. There are some color prints, but most are black and white.
Quantity: 4.0 Linear feet 4 boxes
Location Note: Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections
Call Phrase: PR 314

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Biographical /Historical Note

Stephen Somerstein was a student at City College of New York and picture editor of the student newspaper when he traveled to Alabama in March 1965 to document the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery.

From March 21 to March 25, 1965, civil rights protesters marched from Selma to the state capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama to demonstrate against the violent resistance that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and other groups had encountered in their efforts to register African-American voters. On March 25, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the crowd of approximately 25,000 supporters from the steps of the Alabama State Capitol. Three months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

After graduating from college, Somerstein did not pursue photography as a career. Instead, he became a physicist and worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and at the Lockheed Martin Company. After retiring in 2008, he decided to return to photography. A selection of these photographs were the basis of an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society, Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein, which was on view from January 16, 2015-October 25, 2015.

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Scope and Contents Note

This collection consists of 59 photographs which document the 1965 Civil Rights March form Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Notable individuals featured in the photos include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, Joan Baez, and Harry Belafonte. A set of exhibition copies of the prints is available for reference.

Arrangement Note

The photographs are numbered according to numbers assigned by museum staff in preparation for exhibition in 2014, before the collection was accessioned. Prints 47-55 and 65 are not part of the collection.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers. A set of exhibition copies of the prints is available for reference.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from: Rights and Reproductions The New-York Historical Society Two West 77th Street New York, NY 10024 Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282 Fax: (212) 579-8794

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation Note

This collection should be cited as: Stephen Somerstein Photographs of Civil Rights March from Selma Collection, PR 314, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Provenance

Purchase, 2015

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Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 [1] CCNY students on bus heading to Alabama.
1965
Box: 1 [3] Bobby Simmons, civil rights marcher, with "Vote" in white across forehead.
Box: 1 [4] Civil rights marchers leaving the field of City of St. Jude school.
1965
Box: 1 [5] Marchers passing Alabama State Bar building.
1965
Box: 1 [6] Two young girls watching civil rights marchers pass by home.
1965
Box: 1 [7] Two mothers and babies drinking from milk bottles and young girl watching civil rights marchers.
1965
Box: 1 [8] Two men and four children, African-American, watching marchers from their porch.
1965
Box: 1 [9] United States Army MPs guarding civil rights marchers on Route 80 at intersection. Road to state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. (color print)
1965
Box: 1 [10] Young boys in the street watching civil rights marchers pass by.
1965
Box: 1 [11] Civil rights marchers walking through a town on Route 80, Jefferson Davis Highway, on road to state capitol.
1965
Box: 1 [12] Two young marchers with small American flags marching through downtown Montgomery.
1965
Box: 1 [13] Front of march preparing to leave City of St. Jude School- John Lewis, Ralph and Juanita Abernathy and others.
1965
Box: 1 [14] Front line of marchers at City of St. Jude, from left, (full face), Rev. Arthur Motott, SNCC President John Lewis, Andrew Young, and Sister Mary Leoline.
1965
Box: 1 [15] Civil rights marcher conversing with African-American women bystanders, as Selma to Montgomery march moves by.
1965
Box: 2 [16] Young civil rights marchers singing as they march on the road to the state capitol in Montgomery, AL.
1965
Box: 2 [17] Early arriving civil rights marchers cheering on later arriving marchers- rest stage.
1965
Box: 2 [18] Multi-generations of women and children watching civil rights marchers. [color print]
1965
Box: 2 [19] African-American woman waving to civil rights marchers. [color print]
1965
Box: 2 [20] City dwellers outside their home watching civil rights marchers. [color print]
1965
Box: 2 [21] United States Army Military Police guarding civil rights marchers along Route 80, Jefferson Davis Highway.
1965
Box: 2 [22] Heckling of the marchers on the streets of Montgomery, Alabama.
1965
Box: 2 [23] White bystanders and office workers watching and filming civil rights marchers.
1965
Box: 2 [24] Church elders arrayed across steps of Mt. Zion AME Church in Montgomery AL watching civil rights marchers below. [color print]
1965
Box: 2 [25] White bystanders watching civil rights marchers on street, downtown Montgomery.
1965
Box: 2 [26] Civil rights marchers passing before a mostly African-American crowd on sidewalk outside Askin's Dept. Store, Montgomery.
1965
Box: 2 [27] Proud civil rights marchers walking hand-in-hand up to state capitol in Montgomery.
1965
Box: 3 [28] Harry Belafonte, Leon Bibb, Joan Baez and Oscar Brand.
1965
Box: 3 [29] James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, speaker's platform.
1965
Box: 3 [30] James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph, speaker's platform [in front of tree].
1965
Box: 3 [31] Bayard Rustin, Selma March organizer
1965
Box: 3 [32] Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche on speaker's platform in front of Alabama state house.
1965
Box: 3 [33] Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on speaker's platform befor his speech to 25,000 civil rights marchers.
1965
Box: 3 [34] Rosa Parks speaking to 25,000 civil rights marchers. Rev. Ralph Abernathy on left.
1965
Box: 3 [35] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with civil rights and union leaders singing "We Shall Overcome."
1965
Box: 3 [36] Andrew Young transfixed after singing National Anthem.
1965
Box: 3 [37] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to civil rights marchers in Montgomery.
1965
Box: 4 [38] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to civil rights marchers in Montgomery [building in background].
1965
Box: 4 [39] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking through a sea of microphones at end of march.
1965
Box: 4 [40] Ecstatic reaction by spectators to speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1965
Box: 4 [41] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. looks out at crowd during his speech to 25,000 civil rights marchers.
1965
Box: 4 [42] 25,000 civil rights marchers listening raptly to Dr. King during his speech.
1965
Box: 4 [43] Folksinger Joan Baez in front of Alabama state police on top steps of state capitol.
1965
Box: 4 [44] State police and government officials watch march from steps of Alabama state capitol.
1965
Box: 4 [45] Family watching civil rights marchers, with "Things Go Better With Coke" billboard behind them.
1965
Drawer: oversize 2NW.9B.27 drawer 14 [46] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. seen from rear, speaking to crowd of 25,000.
1965
Box: 4 [56] Selma to Montgomery, AL civil rights marchers leaving City of St. Jude school, where they had camped overnight.
1965
Box: 4 [57] Civil rights marchers heading up the street to congregate at the foot of the Alabama State Capitol.
1965
Box: 4 [58] Jim Leatherer, an Orthodox Jew from Saginaw, Michigan, walked the 53 miles on crutches.
1965
Box: 4 [59] Teamsters Union officials gather on field of City of St. Jude school in preparation for the march.
1965
Box: 4 [60] Older gentleman at assembly field at City of St. Jude school, ready for the march.
1965
Box: 4 [61] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King at head of 25,000 member civil rights march, leaving the overnight campgrounds of the City of St. Jude school.
1965
Box: 4 [62] Young injured boy carried on shoulders of marcher from Canada.
1965
Box: 4 [63] Civil rights marchers striding past home with families watching from their porch.
1965
Box: 4 [64] Young civil rights marchers carry their American flags past the storefront of Montgomery Seed & Supply Company.
1965
Box: 4 [66] From the rooftop of the Brown Printing Company, Army troops monitor civil rights marchers in downtown Montgomery
1965
Box: 4 [67] Black and white pedestrians watching marchers in front of a grocery store on Jefferson Davis Highway.
1965
Box: 4 [68] Two opinions; heckler and applauder, reacting to civil rights marchers.
1965
Box: 4 [69] Ecstatic, emotional response from Dr. King's staff to his speech in front of the Alabama State Capitol.
1965

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