50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March

This event in American history changed the nation.

The three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 were part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement and led to the passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. Activists publicized the three protest marches to walk the 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital of Montgomery as showing the desire of black American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression.

The following is an excerpt from the Dream Marches On website.

American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968) and his wife Coretta Scott King lead a black voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery.

American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) and his wife Coretta Scott King lead a black voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery. (William Lovelace, Express / Getty Images)

“In 1965, the eyes of the Nation watched as thousands of ordinary people took to the streets of Selma, Alabama to march for voting rights.

On March 7, Reverend Hosea Williams and John Lewis stepped from the pulpit of Brown Chapel Church and led a group of 600 toward Montgomery, Alabama.  After just six blocks, when they crossed the now infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, Sheriff Jimmy Clark’s deputies and state troopers dispatched by Gov. Wallace attacked the group with nightsticks and tear gas, injuring dozens. The violence stopped the marchers’ first attempt, but they would not be silenced or stopped for good.

THE EVENT CAME TO BE KNOWN AS “BLOODY SUNDAY.”

Library of CongressImages of civil rights marchers in Selma being beaten by Alabama police horrified many Americans, including President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Library of CongressImages of civil rights marchers in Selma being beaten by Alabama police horrified many Americans, including President Lyndon B. Johnson.(BETTMANN/CORBIS, Library of Congress Images )

 

Two weeks later, under the protection of Alabama National Guardsmen and Army troops, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. set off again from Selma and marched along U.S. Hwy. 80 to the capital city.
The March continues. Civil Rights in and around Selma provide moving examples of what ordinary people can do.”

Find more at the Dream Marches On.  

Various events are scheduled to commemorate the anniversary of the March.

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