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Local artist's painting on postal stamp

By By LYDIA GRIMES Features writer
As civil rights leaders prepare to mark the anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march with special events next weekend, artwork created by Bernice Sims has been chosen to represent the event in a series of stamps documenting the civil rights movement to be released later this year.
Bernice Sims of Brewton painted "Selma March" in 1991. It was part of the exhibit, "In the spirit of Martin," at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., when it was seen by Ethel Kessler, Art Director for the stamp project. The subject of the painting was among the events chosen to be part of the "To Form A More Perfect Union" stamp pane which focuses on the 10 milestone events in the African-American civil rights movement.
Sims, who has been painting for many years, said she was very happy to hear that her painting had been selected.
According to the U.S. Postal Service website, the Postal Service worked with several historians to develop the list of events. Several design treatments were considered and the Postal Service's design team worked with consultants and galleries that specialized in the work of African-American artists to find existing works of art that were relevant to all 10 of the events honored.
The 10 stamps on the "To Form A More Perfect Union" pane, to be issued in August, will recognize events that called on courage and achievements of the men and women who struggled to support the civil rights movement.
The subject of Sims' painting commemorates the march from Selma to Montgomery on March 7, 1965 when some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma. They were confronted on the Edmund Pettus Bridge by local and state lawmen. The confrontation resulted in the retreat of the marchers, only to be revised when Martin Luther King Jr. made a symbolic march to the bridge. Finally, on March 21, some 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery. By the time they reached the capitol on March 25, there were 25,000 strong. Less than five months later President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
To preview the remaining stamps, visit thepostal Web site at www.usps.com.