Tuesday, May 18, 1965: James Karales' civil rights photo

James Karales' photo of the Selma-to-Montgomery march appears across two pages in Look magazine, with the words TURNING POINT FOR THE CHURCH printed across the top edge. (It was part of a story titled "Our churches' sin against the Negro.") The accompanying text reads:

There have been marches before, but never marchers like these -- a weaponless, potluck army, moving in conquest through hostile territory under the unwilling protection of the enemy. So did a Georgia preacher lead of pilgrimage of enfranchised Alabama Negroes 54 miles this spring to the steps of their state capitol. The concept was biblical. The execution was 1965 American. The Army and FBI guaranteed White House support. Patrol cars, helicopters, truck-borne latrines and first-aid vans bracketed the column; the marchers ate from paper plates with throwaway plastic spoons and slept under floodlit tents. Sustained by rationed peanuts-butter sandwiches, they never faltered in their pace and bitter humor. "I've been called 'nigger,' " said somebody up front. "Well, from now on, it's got to be 'Mister nigger.' " Across the Black Belt farmland rolled the pickup words of their new battle hymn: "Oh, Wallace, you know you can't jail us all; Oh, Wallace, segregation's bound to fail." In it, the white ministers, priests, rabbis and nuns, who had jetted vast distances to reinforce the march, found a new statement of faith.

Karales' son, Andreas, recounted how the photo came to be: " ... he described trying to find an image that would symbolize the meaning and feeling of the march. He struggled over the course of the five-day march, making countless attempts to produce something that he felt worthy of his goal. On the last day a storm swept in and he knew that this was his moment. He rushed to get to the right spot to frame both events as they happened. He was fortunate to get the shot as the storm moved on quickly. ... The menacing clouds and synchronized stride of the marchers happened in one short moment and is what makes this photograph so special. It was one of my father's greatest catches and was the result of his great patience." -- From "Andreas Karales' Memories of his Father, James" (via Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina): @

* Karales' obituary (Los Angeles Times, 2002): @
* Earlier post on Selma-to-Montgomery photographers: @ 

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