December 2022 Auction Ends Thursday, December 8th, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 12/8/2022 5:53:00 PM

Lot #157: Handwritten & Signed 20'' x 16'' Photo Essay by Gwendolyn Sanders, Who Led the 1963 Student Protest in Birmingham, Alabama -- ''...Birmingham firemen used these water hoses against us...''


Powerful handwritten testimony by Gwendolyn Sanders, who, as just a 15-year-old, led the famous student protest in the Birmingham Civil Rights campaign. At first criticized for involving young people in Birmingham, called the most segregated city in America, the campaign was ultimately deemed successful as it exposed the depth that white leaders would stoop to, even using very high-pressure fire hoses on the students, and arresting children as young as eight. Once news footage of these arrests was broadcast all over the world, public support quickly galvanized for the Civil Rights movement, leading directly to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Writing on a 20'' x 16'' photo of the fire hoses being used on a group of students, Sanders writes, ''I was only 15 years old on May 2, 1963 when the Birmingham firemen used these water hoses against us three or four times. Nobody can imagine how painful the force from that water was. We were protesting peacefully, practicing non-violence according to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but the white leaders chose to be violent. Dr. King had come to Birmingham and was speaking about the non-violent movement. This was something I wanted to be a part of, as the Black community was waking up and it started to feel like we could do something about the segregation laws, especially in Alabama. The struggle is still going on, but things are much better now. Do I feel like I made a difference? Yes, I do, but it wasn't just about me. It was about those thousands of children and men and women who all came together. One or two people alone couldn't have made a difference. But all of us, together, were able to change things for the better.''

She then signs the photo, ''Gwendolyn Sanders Gamble / 10th grader who organized my classmates and hundreds of children from Parker High School down to 1st graders to do what became known as the Birmingham Campaign''.

Photo measures 20'' x 16'', penned in black felt-tip. Near fine condition. With a photo of Sanders signing and also an LOA signed by her.
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