U-M Civil Rights Exhibit

John Lewis, leader of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, is beaten by a state trooper March 7, 1965, as he attempts to march with 600 others from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in a right-to-vote demonstration. (Photo Credit: Library of Congress)

From September 20 to October 13, 2017, a display at the north lobby entrance to Hatcher Graduate Library (913 South University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI) will combine art from March with a selection of materials from the University of Michigan’s Joseph A. Labadie Collection. Classes and school groups are especially invited to visit.

The exhibit will be open to the public and will focus on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches.  John Lewis, who at the time was the Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was one of the leaders of these non-violent marches against systematic African American voter repression. On March 7, 1965, Lewis suffered a skull fracture from the beating that he endured from state troopers on what became known as Bloody Sunday. Lewis later recalled: “I thought I saw death.” The violent attacks on peaceful demonstrators were recorded and disseminated throughout the country, and moved Americans from diverse racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to march from Selma to Montgomery in support of African American voting rights, freedom, and equality. Their courageous actions paved the way for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark achievement of the Civil Rights Movement.