Newly Discovered Photo & Video Detail Tuscaloosa's Civil Rights History

Aug 2, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching at First African Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Credit Edward Jenkins

The state of Alabama has a rich and painful history when it comes to the civil rights movement. Researchers recently uncovered new evidence about a lesser-known chapter of that story.

The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Task Force has located a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at a service in Tuscaloosa. They also found video of what came to be known as “Bloody Tuesday”, when a peaceful march to protest segregation was met with beatings, tear gas, fire hoses and arrests.

Rebecca Minder is the communications director for the task force. She says they knew Dr. King spoke at the installation service for the Reverend T.Y. Rogers, Jr. as pastor of Tuscaloosa's First African Baptist Church, but couldn't find any evidence. They asked Tuscaloosa native Edward Jenkins for help.

“We asked him about that installation service, and he said, ‘Well, you know, I think I’ve got a picture of that’. And he actually looks in a file folder that was tucked away in a box, stored in a storage room, and lo and behold, there’s this beautiful photo.”

Minder says as far as she knows, this photo is the only proof that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Tuscaloosa at that time.

Researchers also uncovered video of what came to be known as “Bloody Tuesday” as local police met a peaceful march in Tuscaloosa with tear gas and fire hoses. The video also depicts Rogers' arrest. It was found in the Huntley Film Archives, based in England, but researchers aren't sure who shot it or how John Huntley came to acquire it.

You can view that video here:

For more information on the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Task Force, head to civilrightstuscaloosa.org.