Spider Martin

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James "Spider" Martin
Spider Martin.jpg
Born (1939-04-01)April 1, 1939
Fairfield, Alabama
Died April 8, 2003(2003-04-08) (aged 64)
Nationality American
Occupation photographer

James "Spider" Martin (April 1, 1939 – April 8, 2003) was an American photographer known for his work documenting the American Civil Rights Movement in 1965, specifically Bloody Sunday (1965) and the Selma to Montgomery March.[1]


Martin was born in Fairfield, Alabama.[2] Spider's most iconic photograph of the civil rights era known as “Two Minute Warning," is of Alabama state troopers confronting Hosea Williams and John Lewis leading peaceful foot soldiers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 54 miles to the Alabama State Capitol on the Selma to Montgomery March in protest of unfair treatment of African Americans and discriminatory voting rights practices. The event that greatly influenced the course of civil rights in the U.S. About the effect of photography on the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Spider, we could have marched, we could have protested forever, but if it weren't for guys like you, it would have been for nothing. The whole world saw your pictures. That's why the Voting Rights Act was passed."[3]

Martin believed because of his small stature, just over five feet tall, that he was able to canvas through a crowd to get some of his best shots.

Martin’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.[citation needed] He was also published in Life, Saturday Evening Post, Time, Der Spiegel, Stern, Paris Match as well as the Birmingham News.[citation needed] A selection of his work was exhibited in the Cannon Rotunda in Washington, D.C. in honor of all who sacrificed in the Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery.[3] Martin also exhibited in Agnes. He died by suicide in 2003 in Blount Springs, Alabama.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yeager, Andrew (6 March 2015). "Photographer Helped Expose Brutality Of Selma's 'Bloody Sunday'". NPR. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Abbott, Valerie A. (2003-05-06). "Resolution # 684-03" (PDF). Regular Meeting of the Council of the City of Birmingham. Retrieved 2007-01-07. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Selma to Montgomery: A March for the Right to Vote". The Spider Martin Civil Rights Collection. Retrieved 2006-01-04. 

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