Edmund Pettus Bridge, black and white photo with large group of people standing around in some sort of gathering

FOOT SOLDIERS FOR JUSTICE

A Photo Essay by Stephanie Glass Solomon, Antioch Professor Emerita

AULA Undergraduate Studies is pleased to present four prints from Stephanie Glass Solomon’s 2016 Puffin Award-Winning show, Foot Soldiers for Justice. A slide show, with the complete series of images from this project can be viewed in the AULA Student Lounge.

March 2017 marks the 52nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Bloody Sunday refers to March 7, 1965 when marchers attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way to Montgomery, Alabama to confront Governor George Wallace and demand their Constitutional right to vote, a right that was systematically denied to them in the Jim Crow South. As they crossed, State Troopers and possemen brutally attacked the marchers, turning them back. With the nation shamed by this and other violent events perpetrated by the state and vigilantes, President Lyndon Johnson was able to persuade the US Congress to pass the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

This March 2017, as people once again commemorate these events and cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, eighteen photos from Foot Soldiers for Justice will be on exhibit in the new gallery of the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Museum in Selma’s Interpretive Center.

 Solomon writes: “With the new administration in Washington DC, and since the Supreme Court decision in Shelby v Holder, 21 state legislatures across the nation will attempt to pass various voter suppression laws. Though California encourages voter participation, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, in our state, less than half of the adult African Americans (48%), Asian Americans (48%), and Latinos (42%) eligible to vote are likely to vote, compared to 64% of white adult citizens. In addition, if we look at social class, those in the white middle and upper classes tend to vote more. This means the interests of many Californians are not being represented by the vote. Clearly, we need more voter participation in the state.”

Foot Soldiers for Justice is a reminder that the struggle for voting rights continues, and that echoes from Selma are still being heard. For more information on this project visit Footsoldiersforjustice.com and to contact Stephanie, you may email her at: [email protected].

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