In 1963, a volunteer photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality Now named Bob Adelman shot photographs of the “Children’s Crusade,” when hundreds of Birmingham schoolchildren walked out of their classrooms and into the streets in protest.
Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor ordered the use of force to halt the protesters. At least 2,600 children were jailed over the course of a few days. Images shot by Adelman and others of children and teens being blasted by fire hoses and attacked by police officers and their dogs appeared on television and in newspapers, triggering outrage around the nation and world. It is considered by many to be a major turning point in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
Fifty years later, the University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Art and Art History will present an exhibition of 38 of those photographs. “Bob Adelman: The Children’s March” will be on show Friday, Sept. 27 through Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, at the UAB Visual Arts Gallery, 900 13th St. South. The show is part of 50 Years Forward, UAB and the City of Birmingham’s ongoing 50th anniversary commemoration of the seminal events of the Movement. The images from his show at UAB will focus on that day, May 2, 1963, when more than 1,000 African-American students skipped their classes and gathered at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to march to downtown Birmingham.
Adelman will lecture about his work at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in UAB’s Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall, 950 13th St. South. Adelman will also attend the opening reception of his show from 5-9 p.m. Sept. 27, in the gallery. Admission to both events is free and open to the public. Call 205-934-0815 for gallery hours and more information. Visit the UAB College of Arts and Sciences online at www.uab.edu/civilrights.
The catalogue for the show will present Adelman’s photographs, along with essays by Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), scholar and writer Charles Johnson, Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School Principal Sidney L. Moore and others.
As a photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality Now, Adelman was granted access to many of the Civil Rights Movement’s key leaders, including Malcolm X, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin. His photographs were used for cover stories in Esquire, Time, People, Life, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Newsweek, New York Times magazine, Fortune, American Heritage, The London Times Magazine, Stern, Look, Paris Match and other magazines.
A Guggenheim Fellow, Adelman has taught at the International Center for Photography, The New School and School of Visual Arts, and he has lectured at Columbia University, Stanford University, Union College, Philadelphia College of Art, the University of Minnesota, Miami University, Ohio State University, the Steamboat Falls Workshop and Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Other awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, Art Director’s Club awards, American Institute of Graphic Arts 50 Books awards and a University of Missouri School of Journalism Award.