Selma to Montgomery March II
It is possible to describe the march, but difficult to evoke the feelings it raised in those who participated. John Lewis recalled: ''You had to go--it was more than an ordinary march. To me there was never a march like this one before, and there hasn't been once since...It was the sense of community moving there, and as you walked you saw people coming, waving, bringing you food or bringing you something to drink...You didn't get tired, you really didn't get weary.''
On Sunday morning March 21, four thousand people gathered at Brown's Chapel in Selma and hit the road for Montgomery with Martin Luther King leading along with John Lewis, Ralph Bunche, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and many many others. The Alabama troopers were nowhere to be seen; the marchers were guarded by Army and National Guardsmen.
For five days they marched, through rain and sunshine, wind and warmth. The singing and chanting were almost constant, and from out of the fields and along the country roads came troops of Alabama black people to clap and stare in rapt astonishment at a sight they never thought they'd see.
As a photographer, I walked backwards for five days, watching events unfold through my camera lenses. This was a march for ordinary people, not the leaders. Northern activists and intellectuals mixed easily with people from rural Alabama. In this spirit, I photographed two women throughout the march: Iris Jones, a housewife from suburban Philadelphia, and Doris Wilson, a teenage mother from Selma. At night we slept on the ground in tents that magically appeared and ate food prepared by armies of volunteers working anonymously to support the march.
On Thursday morning the marchers entered Montgomery, 25,000 strong, amid a sea of American flags and banners. They filled the avenues and flooded up to the State Capitol building where a grandstand had been erected and speeches were delivered. Rosa Parks spoke along with the usual leadership, and Joan Baez sang, while from behind shuttered blinds in the Capital, Governor Wallace watched.