Democrats Commemorate the 54th Anniversary of the Historic March to Selma

2020 hopefuls visit Selma for anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday' march
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who have each announced their 2020 candidacies, were among those in attendance for services and a march to mark the anniversary. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is considering his own White House bid, was also in attendance.

2020 presidential hopefuls visit Selma for the anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’ march – AIWA! NO!

Bloody Sunday” events.

On March 7, 1965, an estimated 525 to 600 civil rights marchers headed southeast out of Selma on U.S. Highway 80. The march was led by John Lewis of SNCC and the Reverend Hosea Williams of SCLC, followed by Bob Mants of SNCC and Albert Turner of SCLC.


Martin Luther King Jr. with Ralph Abernathy, James Forman of the SNCC, and Reverend Jesse Douglas leading the march around the state capitol, Montgomery, Alabama, March 25, 1965; photograph by Spider Martin from the exhibition ‘Selma March 1965,’ at the Steven Kasher Gallery, New York City, March 5–April 18, 2015
Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Martin Luther King Jr. with Ralph Abernathy, James Forman of the SNCC, and Reverend Jesse Douglas leading the march around the state capitol, Montgomery, Alabama, March 25, 1965; photograph by Spider Martin from the exhibition ‘Selma March 1965,’ at the Steven Kasher Gallery, New York City, March 5–April 18, 2015

Throughout March of 1965, a group of demonstrators faced violence as they attempted to march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, to demand the right to vote for black people.One of the pivotal days was March 7, when 17 people were injured by police, including future Congressman John Lewis. 

Since that time, March 7 has been known as “Bloody Sunday.”

For some reason, GOP congressional leaders decided they didn’t need to be there, even though Senator Tim Scott is one of the day’s co-chairman and former President George W. Bush will attend. (Reports are the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is attending. Good for him.)
For some reason, GOP congressional leaders decided they didn’t need to be there, even though Senator Tim Scott is one of the day’s co-chairman and former President George W. Bush will attend. (Reports are the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is attending. Good for him.)

Rep. John Lewis returns to the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The march has been reenacted many times on its anniversary. In 2015, President Barack Obama marked the 50th anniversary of the march by delivering a speech at the foot of the Emund Pettus Bridge in Selma. It is about 50 miles (80 kilometres) from Selma to Montgomery.

Timeline


February 1965 – Marches and demonstrations over voter registration prompt Alabama Governor George C. Wallace to ban nighttime demonstrations in Selma and Marion, Alabama.

February 18, 1965 – During a march in Marion, state troopers attack the demonstrators. State trooper James Bonard Fowler shoots and kills Jimmie Lee Jackson. Fowler was charged with murder in 2007 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2010.

March 7, 1965 – About 600 people begin a march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Lewis and Hosea Williams. Marchers demand an end to discrimination in voter registration. At the Edmund Pettus Bridge, state and local lawmen attack the marchers with billy clubs and tear gas, driving them back to Selma.

Read More:Selma priest remembers Bloody Sunday.

March 9, 1965 – Martin Luther King Jr. leads another march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The march is largely symbolic; as arranged previously, the crowd turns back at a barricade of state troopers. Demonstrations are held in cities across the United States to show solidarity with the Selma marchers.

March 9, 1965 – President Lyndon Johnson speaks out against the violence in Selma and urges both sides to respect the law.

March 9, 1965 –Unitarian Universalist minister James Reeb, in Selma to join marchers, is attacked by a group of white men and beaten. He dies of his injuries two days later.

March 10, 1965 – The US Justice Department files suit in Montgomery, Alabama, asking for an order to prevent the state from punishing any person involved in a demonstration for civil rights.

March 17, 1965 – Federal District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr. rules in favor of the marchers. “The law is clear that the right to petition one’s government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups.

March 18, 1965 – Governor Wallace goes before the state legislature to condemn Johnson’s ruling. He states that Alabama cannot provide the security measures needed, blames the federal government, and says he will call on the federal government for help.

March 19, 1965 – Wallace sends a telegram to President Johnson asking for help, saying that the state does not have enough troops and cannot bear the financial burden of calling up the Alabama National Guard.

March 20, 1965 – President Johnson issues an executive order federalizing the Alabama National Guard and authorizes whatever federal forces the Defense Secretary deems necessary.

March 21, 1965 – About 3,200 people march out of Selma for Montgomery under the protection of federal troops. They walk about 12 miles a day and sleep in fields at night.

March 25, 1965 – The marchers reach the state capitol in Montgomery. The number of marchers grows to about 25,000.

August 6, 1965 – President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

June 4, 2015 – After a state resolution to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge is not acted upon, Lewis and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama), publish an article in the Selma Times-Journal in favor of keeping the name. “Keeping the name of the bridge is not an endorsement of the man who bares its name but rather an acknowledgment that the name of the bridge today is synonymous with the Voting Rights Movement which changed the face of this nation and the world.”

Beaten, bloodied and murdered - Selma 50 years later

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