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November 3, 2008

Mario Tama: The Picture From Birmingham


(click for larger size)

I've been speaking with Mario Tama, the fine Getty photographer and friend of BNN who is tracking the election from Alabama. Following yesterday's image here of college students retracing the "Bloody Sunday" march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Mario forwarded this photo from Birmingham.

Eighty-five year old Civil Rights leader James Armstrong participated with Martin Luther King in the Bloody Sunday march and was arrested six times during various civil rights protests in the 1960's. His children, Dwight and Floyd, were the first African-Americans to integrate Graymont Elementary School in Birmingham in 1963, five days before a bomb killed four girls at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Reflecting on Obama's potential election, we see Armstrong sitting in his barber shop (reminiscent of a historical museum) where he cut Dr. King's hair.

(image: ©Mario Tama/Getty. October 31, 2008. Birmingham, AL)

  • bystander

    This is a really cool photograph.
    There’s a lot of history on that wall. The “whites only” sign reminds me it wasn’t that long ago. This is all happening in my lifetime. Amazing.

  • g

    This is an amazingly beautiful photo.

  • kat

    I love this picture. The color of the wall, the contrast of light and darkness, the portraits and other mementos on the wall pull me in and make me want to be there.
    I love the checkerboard tile or linoleum under the sink and the stack of magazines and phone books in the chair on the left. I like the contrast of the colorful Kerry/Edwards sticker with the black and white portraits.
    And yes, the “whites only” and segregation signs are a reminder—I remember seeing these signs when I was very young. Like bystander, this is all happening in my lifetime and it is AMAZING!

  • Cactus

    What a great photo! So rich. It makes you want to stand inside just to feel the ambience.

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