/ Modified feb 28, 2014 9:32 a.m.

Photo Exhibit Provides Window Into Civil Rights Movement Legacy

"Danny Lyon was the only person photographing what he was photographing," says exhibit curator.

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A new photo exhibit in Tucson is marking Black History Month with images of the civil rights movement.

Civil Rights Exhibit Large 1 Danny Lyon's "Atlanta Winter 1963-64." (PHOTO: Courtesy of Etherton Gallery)

The exhibit is titled "Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement," and it features 50 gelatin silver photographs, made between 1962 and '64, when Lyon served as the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

"He really was the only person photographing what he was photographing…often he was the only guy there…and a lot of the situations he found himself in were dangerous," said Terry Etherton, who curated the exhibit. He said Lyon’s photographs document lunch counter sit-ins, student beatings, tear gassings, the jailing of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the unscheduled visit of a young Bob Dylan to committee headquarters in Greenwood, Miss.

Civil Rights Exhibit Large 2 Danny Lyon's "Cairo, Illinois 1962." (PHOTO: Courtesy of Etherton Gallery)

"Another one of my favorite photos is in Clarksdale, Miss., of the police man grabbing his crotch and the other one giving him the finger…it was taken out of the window of a bus and it kind of sums up everything," Etherton said.

RUTH: I remember all of this… I was involved in the civil rights movement… so, it speaks to me.

Ruth Davis recently viewed the exhibit. She said the photographs represent an important milestone in American history.

"I remember all of this...I was involved in the civil rights movement, so it speaks to me," she said. "If people want to know what our history is this is good place to bring your kids. Our history is all here. These are facts –each of these frames represents a fact— what came before or after well that’s what we can talk about. This can start the conversation."

Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement is on exhibit at Etherton Gallery, 135 S. 6th Ave., through March 15.

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