James "Spider" Martin

James “Spider” Martin

Born: April 1, 1939, Fairfield, AL

Died: April 8, 2003, Blount Springs, AL

Spider studied art at Jacksonville State University, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama Birmingham.

He stumbled onto a career in photography by accident when a client saw polaroids Spider had taken. Spider immediately taught himself photography and soon after won first place in a photo contest sponsored by the Birmingham Post-Herald, which helped him get hired as the youngest photographer at The Birmingham News.

Spider was influenced by the prominent segregation and racism occurring in his home state. In order to bring awareness and protest these issues, he joined in marches as well as took controversial photographs of protests and marches, such as Bloody Sunday, the Selma to Montgomery March, Viola Liuzzo's Murder Trial and George Wallace's 1968 Presidential Campaign.

Spider's photographs won numerous awards including the Associated Press awards for Best Feature Photograph, Best Sports Photograph and Best News Photograph.

Martin was already known to be a talented photographer, focusing on capturing photos of country club functions and Alabama football games. However, his skills weren't truly appreciated until he began photographing the events of the Civil Rights Movement.

Spider Martin used his stunning images of the marches and protests to help expose the racial injustices occurring throughout the South.

Martin primarily photographed throughout the state of Alabama, following the Selma to Montgomery marches.

Martin was best known for his work documenting the American Civil Rights Movement in 1965, specifically Bloody Sunday and other incidents from the Selma to Montgomery marches. His most famous photograph is Two Minute Warning. His works brought attention to the racial injustice Blacks faced in the South, even contributing to the passing of the Voting Rights Act.

"Two Minute Warning"

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