I walk for my freedom

June 4 – September 24, 2022

I walk for my freedom presents the civil rights movement through the eyes and work of photojournalist Matt Herron. Based in Mississippi in the early 1960s, Herron covered the civil rights struggle for Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, and the Saturday night postin addition to providing photos and supporting the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

In reference to this experience, Herron said:

My wife and I went to Mississippi in 1963 to put our shoulders to the wheel of civil rights, with a personal mission to advance the cause of nonviolence. The movement was small and jagged, and we had no idea it would ever be as successful as it has been. But we knew it was a historical change, and I was always aware that I was photographing history.

I was a photographer who offered his professional services and I was ready to put my body on the line. And there were no barriers in those days between anyone who defended the cause of civil rights. I don’t know the exact analogy, but I always thought we were on the front line; we were in danger; we became attached to each other; we sang together; we kissed each other. It was the only time in my life that I lived in a truly integrated and loving society. We called it “the beloved community”. It was a golden moment, and I will never see it again.

Matt Herron died on August 7, 2020, when a glider he was piloting crashed in northern California. This compilation of photographs is on loan from the Center for Documentary Expression and Art in Salt Lake City, UT, for display at the Southern Utah Museum of Art.

This exhibition is curated by Matt Herron and the Center for Documentary Expression and Art. It is presented here with permission from the Matt and Jeannine Herron Trust, 2001.

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