Historical civil rights photos displayed at Clovis Community College

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Bay Area photographer shared his unique perspective of the civil rights movement at Clovis Community College.

Fifty years ago, Matt Herron documented the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. The iconic images drew the nation's attention. Herron showed us a photo from the march and explained, "This is the heart of the movement. These are ordinary folks."

Herron captured history through his lens. He called the Selma march in 1965 the five most intense days of his life. He said, "I spent the whole 50 miles walking backwards looking through my camera. I knew that this was history and I just had to photograph it."

Herron recalled how everyone sang the entire way - in church and in times of danger. He showed us another photo and said, "I think that's the best picture I know of Dr. King singing."

Herron showcased his work at Clovis Community College. Digital media instructor Vanessa Addison-Williams couldn't take her eyes off the images. She said, "Well this is my history. I mean our history but it's really personal because it reflects a lot of my own culture."

Addison-Williams was struck by the emotion of each photo. "It actually looks kind of peaceful even though it's not. The pictures are peaceful in their artistic form."

It's all there in black and white. Herron's work ensured the nameless would not become the faceless. Matt said, "What had started with 300 people crossing the bridge and being beaten transformed into people flying in from all over the country into Selma."

Fellow photographer Bob Fitch snapped a picture of Matt running from an officer. He said, "I've been clubbed a few times in marches but they never really hurt me."

Matt Herron says he snapped over 27,000 photographs during the civil rights movement. One showed C.O. Chinn telling people the Voting Act of 1965 had passed. Matt remembered with pride the young man grew up to become known as "Judge" Chinn.

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