A Civil Rights treasure trove discovered
A photographer at The Birmingham (Ala.) News was looking for a lens, but found a box instead filled with negatives of photos from the civil rights movement in Alabama. Many of the images include the biggest names and key events of the movement, but were never published before.
Minutes after the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed on Sept. 15, 1963, Tom Self was on the scene taking pictures. The photographs, published in The Birmingham News, were among hundreds that appeared in print during the civil rights struggle in Alabama. Self, who retired as chief photographer in 1998, remembers many of those images. He also recalls many not published. One is a picture from inside the Sixteenth Street church moments after explosives blew the face of Jesus Christ from a stained-glass window and killed four little girls. "I shot a picture of Jesus, and everything was intact except his face; his face was blown out," Self remembered. "It was an eerie feeling to look up there and see the whole frame of the window and just the face was gone."The link to the photos, stories and audio accounts from the retired photographers themselves can be found here, a terrific online exhibit that was published as part of a special in the newspaper. For some civil rights activists who marched in the era I'm sure the photos will bring back a lot of memories. For the rest of us, view them for inspiration. We owe these