Thursday, January 21, 2010

Civil Rights Sculptures

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do you make civil rights struggles come alive with just a hunk of metal or block of cement?

Like this:

Police Dog Attack
Sculpture by James Drake, Photo by Chris Denbow

Birmingham Alabama's Historical Preservation Authority commissioned striking sculptures to commemorate the civil rights marches of 1963. The sculptures are located in Kelly Ingram Park, which used to be off-limits to people of color, and is across the street from the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church, where four girls were killed by a Ku Klux Klan bomb in 1963. Powerful history makes for powerful sculptures.

Children's March ("I ain't afraid of your jail")
Sculpture by James Drake

Firehosing of Demonstrators
Sculpture by James Drake

The Foot Soldier
Sculpture by Ronald S. McDowell, Photo by Dave Barger

Three Ministers Kneeling
The statue was based on the Revs. N.H. Smith Jr., A.D. King and John T. Porter, who led a march in downtown Birmingham on Palm Sunday 1963 to support the Revs. Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and Ralph Abernathy, who had been jailed.
Sculpture by Raymond Kaskey, Photo by Linda Stelter

~ Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Making Connections: A Curriculum Guide For Grades K-12.
~ A nice brochure about the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Trail
~ The Society of Architectural Historians blogged about their civil rights tour.
~ Save Outdoor Sculpture's "Caring for Outdoor Sculptures" questionnaires, forms, and info.
~ While we're at it, Save Outdoor Sculpture also has a page on rescuing public murals.

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