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‘Freedom Road’ looked at civil rights history

ACU Today Summer 2011

Alumni magazine for Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas

Today is a good day to look again at “Freedom Road,” a feature story in the Summer 2011 issue of Abilene Christian University’s ACU Today magazine.  “Freedom Road” details the experiences of an ACU group that rode by bus to tour important civil rights sites in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Along the way, they met and listened to former Freedom Riders James Zwerg and Dr. Bernard Lafayette.
Bonus Coverage adds another six pages to our layout, which also features a stunning photograph by award-winning Houston photographer Sandy Adams of the pulpit of Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn. ACU students and faculty on the Civil Rights Tour in May 2011 were allowed to stand in the pulpit and behind the microphone used by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to give his “Mountaintop” speech, April 3, 1968, before being assassinated the next day on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel.

Thanks to the generosity of the estate of James Karales, and his widow, Monica, we were honored to include in this story two of James’ famous photographs from award-winning Look magazine: “Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965”and “Boy With Flag, March from Selma to Montgomery.”
The two images first appeared in bi-weekly Look, which was printed from 1937-71 as a competitor to Life magazine during what many consider to be magazine publishing’s golden age. Look’s content was largely photographic in nature, and featured the work of prominent artists. Stanley Kubrick was a staff photographer on the magazine before launching a successful film-making career, and Norman Rockwell regularly created illustrations for Look after leaving the Saturday Evening Post.
A Greek-American, James Karales learned advanced shooting and darkroom skills as an assistant to legendary Life photojournalist W. Eugene Smith from 1957-58 before beginning an 11-year career with Look. His assignments took him to London, Prague, Germany, and three times to Southeast Asia to cover the Vietnam War. When Look closed, he became a freelancer photographer and moved to Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
He died of cancer in 2002 at age 71.
In 2008, the National Endowment for the Humanities chose Karales’ dramatic photograph of people marching from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., as one of 40 images in its Picturing America program illustrating American history through its art. The photograph first drew worldwide attention in the 1987 television documentary, “Eyes on the Prize,” a history of the movement and in an exhibit in Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York.
It was shot for an assignment, “The Turning Point of the Church,” a May 18, 1965, story about the involvement of clergy in the civil rights movement. Images from that article – including the two appearing in ACU Today – won first place in Magazine News Photography in the 23rd annual Pictures of the Year competition sponsored by the national Press Photographers Association, the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the World Book Encyclopedia Science Service Inc.