Aftermath follows my large-format painting, Reaching, Seeking … which followed my collage / painting, Witness. These three have been meditations on the Civil Rights Movement which continues to this day. These paintings were created during the Covid-19 pandemic and amid continuous racial and political violence.
Bloody Sunday - Selma, Alabama
Approximately at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 7, 1965, 300 protestors, led by Hosea Williams, John Lewis, Albert Turner and Bob Mants, gathered at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma and proceeded through town to the Edmund Pettus Bridge. At that point, the number of the marchers had swelled to 600 as they crossed the span from Selma toward their date with destiny. At the end of the bridge stood Alabama State Troopers and a hastily-organized vigilante band mounted on horses under the direction of Major John Cloud. Refusing to speak to Williams, Cloud ordered the marchers to disperse, after which gas canisters were thrown into the crowd. Troopers and horsemen armed with clubs assaulted the protestors who then fled back to Selma.
During the pandemonium that reigned throughout the afternoon, hundreds of non-violent protestors were injured. They were treated at Good Samaritan Hospital and a local clinic. The remaining protestors gathered for a rally at Brown Chapel. Captured on film and broadcast across the nation by CBS, this event galvanized the forces for voting rights and increased their support. “Bloody Sunday” became a landmark in American history and the foundation for a successful campaign culminating with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
CBS news filmed the progress of the march. A photograph of one 35mm photographer and an assistant moving among the crowd was found during research, but as yet, credit for the photo source is unknown.
View slideshow of painting process below: