The road from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, wasn't without opposition. Yet through adversity, Martin Luther King Jr. led thousands from the African-American community into new and deserved territory known as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As seen in these photographs, today's streets mirror similar scenes from the past. Across the country, community members of all races mourn the wrongful deaths of black boys and young men and women, while still fighting for what they thought they had all along: civil rights. Their sentiments can be heard through the thunder of the crowd: “We have marched from Selma, but fifty years later, where are we now?”
My series, After Selma, delves intimately into the lives of a hurting, yet hopeful people in the South during and after the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery. This work explores the comparison between civil rights demonstration efforts during the march of the 1960s and the current protests arising from police brutality cases across the United States.
My work reflects topics I am passionate about. In the past, photography has been used to tell the stories of social injustices and to advance the human and civil rights of all people. I believe the photograph continues to hold the power to influence the architecture of social topics and the way people think about them.
For me, photography and activism go hand-in-hand. The new civil rights movement is the primary driving force behind the work that I create. Like the great Civil Rights era photographer Moneta Sleet Jr. said, “I was a participant like everybody else.” In other words, I feel it is an obligation to be a part of the movement and to continue the work of my ancestors.
These images, purposefully set in black and white, highlight the shades of emotion experienced by present-day Selma sojourners. A spirit of unity and hope was captured in each frame as multigenerational subjects reflect the strength of a community and a people, regardless of color. Featured Alabama landscapes, seemingly somber, again become the birthplace of faith in abetter future.