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Lava Thomas, Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Alberta J. James, 2018, graphite and conté pencil on paper, 48 1⁄4 × 34 1⁄2".

Lava Thomas

Rena Bransten Gallery

Lava Thomas, Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Alberta J. James, 2018, graphite and conté pencil on paper, 48 1⁄4 × 34 1⁄2".

As is well known, the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott began on December 5, 1955, four days after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in a premeditated act of civil disobedience. The boycott lasted more than a year, until a federal court’s mandate that the state’s bus system be desegregated. Although celebrated as an icon of the movement, Parks was hardly the only African American woman to become a leader in the struggle against segregation, racial discrimination, and the injustices of Jim Crow. In spite of the focus on male leadership in sanctioned histories, women of all ages played a tremendous role in the postwar civil rights movement.

Based on the mug shots of a dozen women who led the Montgomery bus boycott alongside celebrated leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, Lava Thomas’s series of larger-than-life portraits, exquisitely

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