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January 19, 2009

On To Washington

BIRMINGHAM, AL - JANUARY 18: African-American Barack Obama supporters prepare to board a bus on the way to Washington, DC to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama January 18, 2009 in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham, along with Selma and Montgomery, were touchstones in the civil rights movement where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led massive protests which eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ending voter disfranchisement against African-Americans. Obama will become America's first black president 45 years after Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" civil rights speech in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, AL - JANUARY 18:  African-American Barack Obama supporters from Alabama sit on a bus before departing on the way to Washington, DC to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama January 18, 2009 in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham, along with Selma and Montgomery, were touchstones in the civil rights movement where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led massive protests which eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ending voter disfranchisement against African-Americans. Obama will become America's first black president 45 years after Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" civil rights speech in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As during election week, photographer Mario Tama is in Alabama again tracing the sights, symbols and echoes of the civil rights movement in marking Martin Luther King Day and the Obama inauguration. These two images document a scene playing out in many cities these past few days, of African-Americans boarding buses for the trip to Washington.

The second photo not only captures the pride inherent in the week and this moment in history, but eloquently evokes the profound generational differences — forty-four years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act — when it comes to racial identity and civil rights.

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(images: © Mario Tama. January 18, 2009, Birmingham, Alabama.)

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