column capitol

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There’s no denying it: The architecture on the National Mall commands a kind of weighty reverence. From the neoclassical columns of the Capitol dome to the immense, white marble of the Lincoln Memorial, charm does not seem to have been the design goal for the nation’s front lawn. Save for one standout: the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, which, until this summer, had been chained shut for years.

With its colorful facade, arched windows, spires and rotunda, the A and I (as it’s often called) is a festive relief. Even the building’s next-door neighbor, the brownish-red Smithsonian Castle, feels somber by comparison.

But despite the perky building’s popularity, its reopening was hardly grand. Why so little fanfare? Lack of funding seems to be one explanation.

Belle Of The Mall: Saving Smithsonian’s Jewel-Like Arts And Industries Building

Photos: Ariel Zambelich/NPR, Detroit Publishing Co./Library of Congress, Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Final stage of the Selma-to-Montgomery March (March 25, 1965. 12:55 p.m.)

Aerial Photograph of the City of St. Jude School Grounds and the Tail End of the March Column, 3/25/1965

“The head of the Civil Rights march column has reached the Capitol while the tail is still on the St. Jude’s School grounds. Yellow arrows are Military Police, green arrows are civil police. Time: 1255 hours, 25 March 1965.”

From the series: Aerial Photographs Relating to the Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March, 3/24/1965 - 3/25/1965

Following two abortive Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, including the infamous “Bloody Sunday” events of March 7, 1965, marchers finally reached Montgomery on March 24, 1965. Under protection of a court order, federalized National Guard troops and federal agents, marchers made their way to the Alabama State Capitol for the final stage of the march on March 25, 1965.

These images document the last stage of the march from the St. Jude campus to the Alabama State Capitol Building, along with the positions of civilian police, military police and the news media. The photographs were taken by the 11th Air Assault Division from a Mohawk helicopter equipped with aerial cameras. The prints were prepared by the 11th Air Assault Division’s Imagery Interpretation Section within the 11th Military Intelligence Detachment at Fort Benning, Georgia.  (From the Series’ Scope & Content notes)

Follow the march’s progress from start to finish »

(Our colleagues in the Still Pictures branch alerted us to these great photos. Thanks Still Pix!)